Posted by: jhamon | June 16, 2009

The Beginning of the End of Private Health Insurance

Almost all developed countries have government...

The British NHS

From Ronald Bailey in Reason Magazine, why Obama’s health care plan starts the inevitable drive towards so-called single payer insurance.  He says:

Sadly, we are already well on our way to a wholly government-run health insurance system. After fall, about 47 percent of all health care expenses today are paid for by federal, state, and local governments, e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Establishing a public insurance scheme would dramatically increase the percentage of health care that is paid for by the federal government.

He goes on to observe the best possible outcome is likely:

An explicit two-tier medical system in which privately insured Americans have better access to better medical care. Such two-tier health care systems already exist in countries with national health care schemes such as the United Kingdom and Germany. In the United Kingdom, more and more Britons are opting for private health insurance instead of remaining with that country’s National Health Service. Privately insured Americans would get higher quality health care, but because the market for medical innovation would be smaller, everybody will get worse care than they would otherwise have received had most health care not been nationalized.

I lived in England in the 70s as the child of an executive of a multi-national.  My family was of course able to pay for private care at the time, but I will never forget the “some are more equal than others” approach to healthcare.   There were two different queues.  As a private patient receiving allergy desensitization injections, I was seen first – before broken arms and coupy babies.

Americans have no clue what they’re in for.

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Responses

  1. There’s also been an increase in supplemental private health care insurance in Denmark. My husband is covered by such through his employer, whereas I am not.

    The real break for Americans will be the poor ones who currently have no health insurance who go bankrupt because of medical bills. The fact that they will no longer have to worry whether they have to go to court to get the dialysis treatment they need (I have American friends who had to deal with such bullshit) will mean a huge difference to them. That some people might get their bunioun surgery a couple weeks faster than they otherwise would have because they have private health insurance rather than government health insurance will make no difference to them.

    Imagine the relief of no longer having to worry whether you should spend way too much of your income on health insurance or gambling that you won’t be bankrupted by medical expenses by not taking out any insurance.

    Small business owners haven’t been able to afford to supply themselves or their employees with affordable health care insurance. My parents gambled with 25,000 dollar deductibles rather than paying the price an insurance company would have taken. Now that they’re retired and on Medicare, they’re actually going to the doctor rather than thinking it’s too expensive.

    Government health care insurance will be a huge relief for the working poor and small business owners in the US.


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