Monday, May 21, 2007

Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog: Universal Health Care: Universally Bad

Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog: Universal Health Care: Universally Bad

I think trying to bring the most horror stories to the table is not a fruitful way to move the debate on single-payer vs. the status quo forward. Besides, the horror stories attributed to other nation's systems are trivial compared to the stories about our own. On top of this, once you add the population based problems with our system, there really is no comparison.

I say this as a physician who has always looked favorably on single-payer after a medical school experience in England. Yes, that system had lots of problems, but nowhere near as pervasive nor unfair as our own. As the years have gone by, I have seen so many heart breaking (and infuriating!) situations with our own system, my view has gone from simply favorable to my current view: it is really not acceptable to maintain the status quo.

I am not alone. I am involved in organized medicine on the state level. When I started in 2002 in this capacity, I think the current was then 10-1 (or 2) against single payer. i think that is now perhaps 10 to 3 or 4. Now, mind you, these are leading physicians in my state. These are those who used to be very reliably against anything that smacked of single payer.

I think there are many currents that are drawing physicians along. The injustice of the system that we see every day wears us down. The waste in a system managed by not-for-profit-in-name-only insurers and the true for-profit health plans, pharmaceutical and equipment companies and on and on is unconscionable. The loss of control over the patient-physician relationship could not possibly be worse under the most draconian socialized system, let alone a simple single-payer system. The pay differential among specialists is causing strain. The cost of the system is clearly becoming unsustainable.

There are more, but you get the idea.


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Anonymous said...

All I can say is if this national healthcare package that congress is trying to rush through is so good they are to be the first to give up their own health care and use it----then maybe they would slow down and make sure it is the best package for all americans----

Anonymous said...

they are not going to stop paying for the illegal immaigrants, i cant pay for them they(goverment)must stop the maddness.......

Christopher M. Hughes, MD said...

I will grant that the current package is not all it could be, but it at least gets us further down the road than we are now.

Regarding illegal immigrants, we pay for them now, and in the same sad way we pay for all the uninsured: they do not see a physician until they are so sick as to require emergency and hospital care. Then we cost shift, because they obviously don't have the means to pay even a modest bill from an ED.

Then we pretend this is better than changing the system to cover everyone.