Monday, November 26, 2012

two simple arguments for universal healthcare

#1)  a study came out recently about married people and happiness.  the researchers asked the participants who was happier, the subject or their spouses.  the interesting answer:  neither.  it turns out most couples' happiness is closely tied to the happiness (or unhappiness) of their spouse.  marriages have a collective happiness of sorts.  how does this relate to healthcare?  i believe we, as a society, have a collective health; the health of each individual has an effect on the health of all.  when we address the health needs of all our society members, our collective health will rise.  we will all benefit.

#2)  it is the right thing to do.  forget about whether it is constitutional or not, whether it is a privilege or a right, it is simply right. that is all we should need to move forward.

with that out of the way, we can move on to a single-payer system!


  1. In a sense, I would agree with you. It is the right thing to do to provide medical coverage for all Americans. However, where I vehemently disagree is the way we are going about it. I am self-employed. I have catastrophic insurance to keep my premiums very low. Due to my age, I will not be eligible under Obama Care to maintain catastrophic insurance. In fact, my premiums will be several hundred dollars a month, just shy of $500. That is an exorbitant amount to ask me to pay so that others can have insurance. I will not buy insurance when the time comes and will opt to pay the penalty as it is much more economical to pay the penalty than to purchase insurance.

    For the first time in years, I will be without medical coverage due to Obama Care. I do not qualify for a government subsidy in helping me pay for the insurance and I rarely use my insurance to justify several hundred dollars a month in premiums. I would have to make a lifestyle change in order to pay for Obama Care. It would be different if I had the option of purchasing the catastrophic plan offered but I am past the age where I would be permitted to make that purchase.

  2. The previous anon is why we will probably never have universal heath care. The general public will neveer understand that insurance is not health care.

    In a single payer system, the individual would not need to pay for premiums. Health insurance would only be for those individuals who feel the need to have better medical care than everyone else.

    I agree with your post that better health for everyone is better for society. This includes both physical and mental health. Mental health care has long been stigmatized and religated to the background. Removing the stigma and treating mental illness could improve the health and welfare of a large number of people. A decline in mental health not only affects the individual, but also the family and everyone who interacts with the individual. Extreme cases can lead to life threatening events.

    1. @ Anony 4:01

      Why do you think I am confusing insurance with universal health care (i.e. what they have in Britain)? My gripe was about being forced to purchase INSURANCE that I cannot afford as opposed to keeping my current plan. Even though I currently have insurance, it is for an emergency. I don't use it but it is there for "just in case." Now I am asked to spend several thousand dollars a year for something I don't use so that the rest of the nation can be insured. Why not let me keep what I have? It serves my needs just fine. If I need to visit the doctor, I pay out of pocket up and until my very high deductible kicks in. So far, I have never even come close to meeting my deductible. I am not a burden on the health care system.

      As it now stands, I will opt for the more economical choice, no insurance. It is not unlawful to go without insurance as long as I pay the penalty (tax). Those are the two options the government has given the American people -- purchase insurance or pay a penalty (which they call a tax). However, since insurance companies will be forbidden to deny anyone coverage despite any preexisting conditions, I will now have the option of purchasing insurance if I ever become so very ill that it would be more economical for me to purchase insurance as opposed to paying out of pocket.

      Who do you think is going to pay the "tax" (i.e. penalty) instead of purchasing the more expensive insurance? It will be the folks who are least likely to need insurance. This will, obviously, cause an adverse selection. In other words, those that will really need the insurance will purchase insurance while those that are healthy do not want to spend a large amount of their income on insurance. While I am healthy but not young, I looked into my rates under Obamacare. It is high. People like me or younger healthy people will choose to pay the lesser amount (the tax) since both are lawful choices. Since the Supreme Court ruled that the penalty is not a penalty but a tax, this makes it a lawful choice. Driving without insurance is illegal and one pays a PENALTY not a TAX for not having insurance. Huge difference as far as what is lawful and what is not. People like me who will choose to not purchase insurance but instead pay a tax are making a lawful choice of two options. It's an economical decision, nothing more.

      Unfortunately if enough people make the choice I am making, it will drive up the premiums that everyone will need to pay which will in turn drive up the tax dollars that the government must spend. I will purchase insurance when I need it since insurance companies cannot deny me under Obamacare whereas right now I am insured on a plan that is not only economical but serves my needs. However, my current plan does not serve Obamacare's needs.

  3. comment from William Renzulli:

    I will offer a third reason for a one payer system.

    The current system, with for profit entities DOES NOT WORK in this new era of high cost medical technology. Even when they experimented with managed care it did not work.

    It is possible that Ombamacare may not work for the same reasons. We need to abandon the notion that free enterprise will serve us in this area because they have only ONE GOAL, and that is to make a profit. It worked 50 years ago when all they were paying for was in-patient care, but it is now totally out dated.

    And the idea that "competition" will solve the problem is equally misguided.


  4. The first anon has it right. As long as the penalty is cheaper than the insurance policy, and insurance companies must take on sick people, people will make exactly the choice he/she is. Just pay the tax, then buy insurance once you get sick. Driving up the prices. Businesses will do the same - the penalty is cheaper than the insurance. The only way that might have worked would have been to have the penalty equal the price of the cheapest insurance policy.
    Single payer? Ask a lot of people in those systems (UK, Canada, etc). Months or years long wait for procedures at times. Some hop over the border from Canada - Mayo told us how many they see. Some die, I knew one. Have a malignant melanoma? Well, you'll see someone about that within a few months...
    Flawed as our system is, I'd hate to replace it with something even worse.
    And doctors, you'd like to see all patients for the medicare/medicaid reimbursement rates?