Thursday, July 24, 2008

We need socialized health insurance

Slate reports on the economic incentives that hospitals have to shaft the poor.

The current problem with our health care system is thus: The system is designed around profitability. There's no profit in treating people who have little to no money.

Our system is also designed to reward doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies.

This begs the question: At whose expense?

Well, at the expense of those least capable of paying.

Our system is in dire need of overhaul. The doctors will fight it along with insurance companies and hospitals.

We have a moral obligation to treat everyone fairly instead of just those with the means to afford insurance or health care.

Personally, I think we should have a system that provides basic coverage for all, funded by government run insurance. This would allow better preventative care and reduce reliance of E.R. care by those without coverage or means.

The cost-benefit analysis bears this out when you compare the actual cost of care in countries with some form of socialized health insurance (not the same as socialized medicine).

The final dilemma is this: Is it moral to reward doctors, hospitals and insurance companies at the expense of the poor? Or, is it moral to treat everyone fairly?

1 comment:

aleks martin said...

Here we disagree most vehemently. And it's not exactly as you might expect.

Though the healthcare system is broken, and I am very glad you are too smart to be a proponent of British or Candian style health fascism, here's where I disagree, and it's quite fundamental: I think that complete deregulation of the medical profession (and the legal profession, while we're at it, which are two prominent fields which benefit directly from a state monopoly) will be the inevitable solution.

It's a near comparison to every other insurance field, where you have many competitors supplying basic services not covered by insurance but the highest specialized ones subsidized by a (formerly) voluntary insurance system. You obviously know the problems with absolutely socialized healthcare, but apparently not with even more somewhat socialized healthcare. By proppingup insurance companies and guaranteeing benefits you are ignoring human action. A basic tenet of sound economics.

Certainly the Dutch and French models are to be admired, they still create extraneous bureaucracy via prescriptions and medical licensing. In fact, naturally, neither aspirin nor acetamenophin are available over the counter in those nations, and I'd like you to at least show why they are here.
And a simple "they always have, they always will" defense doesn't work, as those nations with that model (did I forget Switzerland?) moved even the most basic drugs into the sphere of prescriptions and hence regulated them to higher prices and artificial scarcity.

We know the system is broke, but how to fix it? My friend, I simply don't think this is the way.