Not so good
Here is what is happening under the current system, which is a combination of Medicaid, Medicare, the PPACA (the ACA, and millions of uninsured people):
- About 45,000 people die each year because they do not have health insurance. (According to the American Journal of Public Health).
- Hundreds of thousands of families go bankrupt every year because of medical expenses, even if they have health insurance. (According to a study run by Dr. David Himmelstein, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, it is about 530,000 families a year.)
- Millions more families are being devastated because they cannot afford the deductibles under the current system.
- Many people are sicker than they should be.
- Some are dying simply because they do not get treatment for treatable illnesses.
- Many die sooner than they should. According to the life-expectancy tables, Americans are living shorter and sicker lives than they should, either because they have medical problems that should be addressed, but are not, or because they cannot get medical help at all.
- Businesses have higher costs because of less-healthy employees and high health insurance premiums, which means profits are lower than they could be.
Whose fault is it?
The question is: Why is all this happening?
It’s easy to blame doctors and hospitals.
It’s even easier to blame private health insurance companies, because we know they have to answer to shareholders, which means we know when it comes to making decisions about paying for medical procedures, they too often put profits ahead of the health of the insured. We know, for example, if it weren’t for the ACA (Obamacare), few, if any, corporate health insurance companies would insure people with what they call pre-existing conditions.
The real blame, however, should be put on government, because the economic truth is, health insurance should never have been left in the hands of the private sector.
It might be easy to say preexisting conditions should be called medical histories, and that instead of using that information to deny coverage, health insurance companies and health providers should use it to help determine the best treatment for each individual. But that won’t happen. It is not a decision a for-profit insurance company will make. Economists know it. They always knew it.
Which means, in a free production and exchange economy, we should not expect for-profit companies to act in ways that are bad for their profits.
We should, instead, understand that in a free production and exchange economy, government has an obligation to step in and help sort out the healthcare problem.
Corporate insurance companies are not responsible for 26 million uninsured people, government is. Which is why only government can solve the problem.
This is America
This is the 21st-century in America. And in the 21st-century in America, it makes no sense for people to be dying and for Americans to be living sicker and shorter lives than people in other countries (life expectancy in Switzerland is five years longer than in the US).
Everyone should be receiving and have access to medical care and information that will prevent sickness and disease.
If someone is sick, there should be no questions, just treatment.
Drug prices cannot be set by monopolies.
Drug companies should not be allowed to sell a drug in the United States for $2,000 that they sell in Europe for $8.
The truth is: We know why the bad things are happening. We know why people are dying. We know what’s wrong. We know how great American doctors and hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are.
So if America has the best doctors, the best medical equipment, the best hospitals, and the best pharmaceutical companies, what is the problem?
The answer is simple:
We should never have expected private, for-profit health insurance companies that have to answer to shareholders to do something they cannot, or will not, do, which is to insure people who cannot afford to pay or put the health and lives of their clients above profits.
There are things, as every economist can tell you, that cannot be handled well enough by private individuals and companies.
National defense is one. Protecting property rights is another. Providing an economic infrastructure that is good for incomes and profits is another.
And healthcare and health insurance.
Just as we should not expect private insurance companies to make decisions that are not in their best interest, we should not expect the healthcare problem to solve itself. That can’t happen.
Which is why our simple solution is to have government provide a better health insurance company for the American people and American business.
It’s about the economy
- It is not a question of fairness.
- It is not a question of whether or not healthcare is a right.
- It is about economics and the economy and economic efficiency and not wasting resources.
- It is about incomes and profits and increasing exports and decreasing imports.
- It is about low deductibles and low co-pays so everyone will seek and receive medical help.
- It is about total coverage so no American is forced into bankruptcy by medical expenses.
It is about having government ensuring that the greatest doctors, the greatest hospitals, and the greatest pharmaceutical companies in the world can provide the greatest health care in the world.
Why not be the best
The bottom line should be obvious: There is absolutely no reason—economic or moral— for the United States to not have the best healthcare and the best results in the world.
Not doing so is a crime.
Not surprisingly, Wall Street does not like the idea of government handling health insurance, because Wall Street is protecting the value of health insurance companies.
We are more interested in protecting human lives, families, incomes, business profits, wealth, and the United States economy.