Monday, August 18, 2003

"Because they are paying national insurance, people feel they are entitled to service,"

Well, that would cause a problem, would not it? NYT reports that not ALL is well with nationalized healthcare.


I would dearly like to not have to worry about health insurance. Millions and millions of Americans have none at all, and others, like myself, pay well over $1,000/month for our families to have reasonably comprehensive coverage. NYT has been actually very good in the last few days in covering the healthcare situation. In this article titled, "New Therapies Pose Quandary for Medicare" Gina Kolata points out the problems of expensive new techniques for saving or prolonging lives, and how Medicare is trying to cope with this new reality.

However, lesson from all the countries with nationalized medicine is that only some of the problems are solved by universal healthcare plans. The two obvious boons are affordable basic care and lower direct costs to employers. The latter is incredibly significant since medical benefits often constitute a significant percentage of total employee cost for the employers. Lowering that number could induce more employees to hire, or to retain existing workers. Having your expenses go down 10 or more percent is definitely a major benefit. Nevertheless as the NYT article demonstrates the satisfaction with such a system is not not always very high. Often it takes a very long time to schedule an appointment, non-emergency procedures could take months and months to be performed, and any doctor that can manage to have a private practice will do so - taking the best doctors out of the system.

As long as costs continue to rise 2 or 3 times faster than inflation no system, private or public, can provide a truly affordable and comprehensive care continuum.

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