I realize that my last post on healthcare was in large part ignorant, and for that I apologize. I have tried to educate myself more on what President Obama actually proposed as well as the comments from my readers which I will use in this post. With that said, the crux of my view is that a liberal, mostly socialist program will not work in the United states, but there does need to be reform with our current system for it to work. Is the program President Obama is proposing a socialist program? After listening to a press conference on Tuesday, and after some research, I don’t feel it is, and I am now more interested in some of the proposed reforms, including the recent legislation that now covers 11 million more children than before, 4 million of which were previously uninsured. With that said, let me delve into more on why I feel the way I do, and clarify some of the rhetoric that I bought into earlier (this move being something I try to avoid but sometimes fall prey to).
President Obama gave a news conference Tuesday morning and addressed the healthcare system. Currently, our healthcare plan is on its last legs. Medicare and Medicaid are both leaking money and will be unable to sustain the growing number of people currently without health insurance. The president explained his system is not to replace private insurers, but to offer a competitive plan amongst them, which may possibly drive down costs of private insurers but also provide a choice to consumers. Whether or not this will work still needs further attention, but in fact this plan is not so different from Germany’s healthcare system which is revered by many countries (click here). It also would model the Canadian healthcare system. It combines elements of a private healthcare system with government backing, creating a balance that America’s current system should reflect in Medicare currently, but does not. We know our healthcare is failing, while Germany’s is at least relatively successful. Should we move towards a program like this, I am definitely in favor of reform.
Much to my chagrin, I was knocked clear off the bandwagon of my last post by Buddy’s comment. More research led me to find that Canada’s healthcare system is much more efficient than I originally thought, and is not even considered “socialized medicine”. Instead, 99% of physician expenditures are financed through the public sector, which really means that Canada uses a “socialist insurance” program with privatized hospitals and privately trained physicians. A Wikipedia article on both the American and Canadian healthcare systems cites a significantly greater wait time for some urgent care procedures in Canada. However, where only 5% of Canadians are uninsured, 40% of Americans are uninsured, and it is this shocking detail that should sober all of us buying into the rhetoric that the American healthcare system is the best in the world. With that said, there are some reports that document more extensive and advanced surgeries in America which account for the greater cost to its citizens. Would Canada have these procedures, their health costs might be higher.
Great Britain posesses a more socialist medical program which I do not agree with. Thousands of people go without care they need because of the British NHS, one example being here and a plethora of other examples being here. Research done on the Great Britain healthcare model finds doctors “exhausted” and “demoralized”. Some doctors even refer to their own healthcare system as “second rate”. Whereas other Western European countries have a private sector healthcare system with government influence in cases of the poor, full fledged socialist systems like Britain’s is totally under government control. I believe this is a problem.
Two points that I made earlier in the last post are still relevant. Many problems with the current healthcare system deal with the amount of malpractice suits as well as illegal immigration. Hospitals are legally required to provide emergency care to every single person, citizen or no. These visits are obviously not free and insurance companies and hospitals aren’t paying for it. The taxpayer and the insurance customer are. These are real problems that, if addressed soon and properly, I believe would cause substantial decreases in healthcare costs. Although some articles state capping malpractice suits as a non-factor in healthcare cost inflation, the amount required to pay for malpractice insurance is passed directly to the patients. This naturally raises premiums.
The bottom line is this: America’s healthcare system is definitely failing and needs substantial change. Countries like Canada and Germany provide good examples of efficient but flawed systems that we can learn from. We should each take steps now to ensure a better standard of living for ourselves and our loved ones.