Raise your hand if you love your insurance company.
That’s what I thought.
We have a healthcare crisis in America, and to fix it requires a simple step: eliminate the for-profit insurance industry.
It sounds terrifying, at first, to say that the government has to dismantle an entire industry, but that industry is the very cause of our nation’s crisis; it’s an industry that grows fat off of figuring out how not to provide the services its customers pay for. The success of their business depends on pulling in as much money as they can and then letting go as little of it as possible.
Politicians in Washington like to talk about how people should have choice in healthcare. But the choices people want to make are not about which insurance company to use; they’ll use the one that provides the most coverage at the lowest cost. That’s assuming they have a choice, in the first place. Most Americans get their coverage through their employer. Many that don’t have employer-paid coverage can’t afford their own. (And tax credits won’t help.) The choices that matter to people are which doctors and facilities to go to and which treatments to have. Those are the very choices that are imperiled by the insurance industry. Why should it cost you to go to an “out of network” doctor? If your doctor feels you should have a particular medicine, why should some corporation say, “We won’t pay for that one, but we’ll pay for this one”? If consumer choice is what really mattered to politicians, the insurance industry would have been overhauled years ago.
It’s common knowledge that Americans spend more – much more – on healthcare than any other nation, yet by every measurable standard receive worse care than our industrialized neighbors. Why? Because so many healthcare decisions are made with regard to “the bottom line”: how to get the patient to pay the most for the least care. The bottom line in healthcare should never be profit, but the patient’s best interests. The only way to achieve this is to establish a separate government agency that does one thing: pay your medical bills.
Opponents of this glaring necessity like to call it “government run healthcare” or “socialized medicine.” They like to conjure images of trips to the doctor looking more like trips to the DMV, where your healthcare decisions will be made by bureaucrats. But that’s not the model at all. That’s not what healthcare looks like in Europe. Without the for-profit insurance industry, healthcare decisions will actually be made by the medical professionals. Bureaucrats won’t have a say in it one way or another, they’ll just send the doctor the check. You’ll never see the bill.
Yes, it will require a tax increase. But that increase will be more than offset by savings in current healthcare spending. The current employer-paid coverage model is a disaster. Businesses are crumbling under the weight of paying for insurance executives’ salaries. One of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. is medical debt. A modest tax increase – far less than what businesses and the average American currently pay annually for healthcare – will fund a pool that can pay for the whole program.
Universal healthcare is better care for less money. Anyone who says different is selling something. Probably insurance.