Why I’m Not a Fan of Single Payer Healthcare

Sometimes, people think I’m cold-hearted, because I don’t believe that single payer healthcare is the solution to America’s healthcare woes.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  I’m a softie, who wants to help others, but I’m also a strong believer in freedom and liberty, and by definition, no system of socialized health care can truly provide freedom from the financial burden of healthcare costs, nor the freedom to seek out and receive treatment for every disease. There are opportunity costs associated with universal healthcare, and we are experiencing some of these side effects today, under our heavily regulated quasi-nationalized healthcare system.

Single Payer Health Care is Extremely Expensive

Universal health coverage, in terms of total cost to society as a whole, is quite possibly one of the most expensive ways to deliver healthcare, despite the rhetoric you may hear from well-intentioned politicians.  In fact, it may be the most expensive way to deliver care.  Believe it or not, there was a time in American history when healthcare was affordable. Dr. James Brook, D.O., of Idaho Falls, explains this best in his well-written book, The High Price of Socialized Medicine.  Dr. James Brook used to be a believer in single payer health care, until he became a direct primary care provider and learned about the real health care cost drivers in America.  If you are at all interested in helping to reform America’s health care systems, Dr. James Brook’s book is a must-read, providing a foundation for understanding where we can begin to fix our problems!

Single Payer Health Care Cannot Treat Every Disease

Health Insurance for all does not equate to health care for all.  Insurance and access are two very different things, although many confuse them as one-in-the-same. Several years ago, back when President Obama was considering the Public Option as an idea to facilitate health care reform in America, I was debating the subject with a few people on social media, when I came across a woman who was adamantly against the idea.  When I asked her why, she told me the story of a good friend of hers in Canada, who was struggling to get care for a brain tumor that was causing intense pain and agony.  The poor woman had been on a waiting list for at least 9 months to get an MRI, and each time her turn arose, the system would delay the procedure.  This woman was in so much pain, she had to give her children to her parents, because the tumor was impinging upon her optic nerve, causing blindness and excruciating headaches.  Single payer healthcare inevitably leads to rationing of care. Commonly, those in favor of single payer health care will argue that this is a rare event, but is it really, and in any event, is that OK?  Arguably, a truly free healthcare system (not our current system, nor even our pre-Obamacare system) would not have alienated this woman.  America has not had a free health care system since the advent of employer-sponsored health insurance,  so we don’t know if this woman would have been better off in a free health care system, however, I suspect she would have.  Again, I refer you back to the book, The High Price of Socialized Medicine, for context.

Ironically,  I referred the woman in the above mentioned story to  Timely Medical , a medical broker in Canada, who helps Canadians receive affordable care in the USA, when they are placed on waiting lists.  She was eventually able to receive charitable care right here in the USA, and has now returned to a normal life.

I know that many will argue that America’s system has alienated many due to its cost, and they would be correct.  Our heavily regulated health care system does not operate in a free market, and thus, to the extent that it is devoid of free market principles, it is extremely expensive, so much so, that many are left out.  But rather than throw up our hands and conclude that the only solution is to give all of the power to our government to control our healthcare system, I urge Americans to consider the Direct Pay Care model as an alternative to single payer health care. Why wait for the government to do something, when the free market is already doing it? The movement is gaining momentum.  Let’s pull together and make it happen.

 

Single Payer Health Care is Immoral 

“Single payer healthcare is immoral”. I know that this statement is going to strike a cord for many single payer healthcare proponents, so I urge you to read Health Care is Not A Right, by Leonard Piekoff, PhD and philosopher.  The title, on its face, sounds harsh and cold-hearted, but the content gives a perspective that I bet you haven’t heard before!  Leonard Piekoff is also video taped making this presentation.  Watching it may give you a better understanding of his point of view. It’s an old presentation, but it’s content easily applies to today.

Part  1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Cash Only Health Care. Does it Really Work?

It’s hard to fathom that cash only health care really can work.  Our generation has never really known any other way of paying for our non-catastrophic health care other than via health insurance.  But there is a different way, and it’s time for us to open our minds to a different way.  Cash pay health care can be and is affordable. Just look through the affordable health care links on the right hand side of this site for plenty of examples.  Listen to the following podcast interview with Dr Keith Smith of The Surgery Center of Oklahoma for more details.

A Doctor’s Opinion

The following is a quote I saved from a doctor I follow on social media:

“We should not return to the situation that we had before Obamacare. That was terrible, although not as terrible as after Obamacare. It was terrible because of government regulation. Some people are asking what should be put in to replace Obamacare. Repeal the act, and do not replace it with anything. Rather, keep repealing layers of government intervention that made health care so expensive before Obamacare was passed. Prior to Obamacare, health care was, along with education, the most heavily regulated sector of our economy. Prior to government control becoming so entrenched, in 1960, an uncomplicated appendectomy could be had for $150. That adjusts for inflation to $1,223 in 2016. Delivery of a baby, with a 4 day hospital stay, was $50 in 1950, converting for inflation to $501 in 2016. Average spending per capita on health care was remaining under $500 in the first half of the twentieth century, again adjusting to today’s dollars. Technological advancements were racing forward. Estimated longevity increased 44% in the first half of the twentieth century, due largely to development of new medications, including antibiotics, and development of new surgical techniques, xrays, EKGs, etc., all while health care spending only increased 1.9% per year above general inflation. In the second half of the twentieth century, with government involvement, longevity increased by only 13%, while spending jumped to over $8,000 per person. Service declined dramatically. House calls, and thorough and prompt service, suffered. This was before Obamacare, but with heavy government regulation. Tax incentives toward third party coverage were the main reason. The creation of Medicare and Medicaid, with their stifling regulations that drive up the cost of providing health care, also caused much of the damage. The HMO Act of 1973, CLIA, state insurance mandates, Stark laws, DEA, the FDA, ERISA, etc. all piled on more layers of government interference. We have not had anything resembling a free market in health care in many decades. Let’s try a wild, radical new approach – freedom. Get the government out of it. Then health care could be affordable to common people just like advanced electronics are now. Have you noticed how technology keeps advancing, while prices continue dropping, in electronics? Go into the home of a so-called “poor” American, and look at the electronics they have. There is a free market in electronics, but not in health care. Get the government out of health care, and MRI scans will be just as affordable as wide-screen TVs. Supply and demand affect health care just as they affect every other area of economic activity. Government interference has been inhibiting supply and driving demand for decades, leading to our high costs…….. I used to favor a nationalized health care system, until I went to medical school and learned what damage our semi-socialized system was doing to the country and even to the people it was purported to be helping. Now I run a family practice, operating as closely to free market principles as possible in America today. Fees are so affordable that even waitresses sometimes leave me tips. You will be surprised what free markets can do, not just in family practice, but even in more complicated care like surgery.

So what should replace Obamacare? Nothing. If I have a patient with skin cancer, I cut it out, and do not replace it with anything. We need to excise the malignancy, government regulation, that is threatening the life of our health care system. That cancer has been growing for decades. Do not replace it with anything, just keep excising until it is gone.”

Dr. James Brook

Dr. James Brook is the author of the book, The High Price of Socialized Medicine.