A national health care system may allow individuals to avoid paying for their health insurance. But the cost of health care will not reduce. In fact, it may actually increase. I’m not a big advocate of government-sponsored health care. I believe a combination of increased utilization of HSA accounts (found on this page), mandated (required) health care for everyone, increased tax credits and mandatory preventative visits will solve our problems.
James F. Pontuso, Charles Patterson Professor of Government & Foreign Affairs at Hampden-Sydney College, offers some very astute views…
The reason health care costs have risen is not because of waste, neglect, incompetence, or greed, but rather because medical care has become so much better.
Proponents of national health care insist that there will be reductions in administrative health-care costs. It is true that there are savings because of economies of scale, but has anyone ever seen a big government program administered efficiently? Big government programs are almost always more expensive than expected exactly because bigness breeds inefficiency. A national health-care system in the U.S. may create the largest bureaucracy in the history of the world.
We could also reduce health care by capping the compensation for doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. But we have to wonder whether the nursing shortage in the U.S. would get worse if nurses’ pay were lowered. As for my cardiologist, she loves medicine and she might have pursued her career even if it took her longer to pay off her debts. I know she is talented enough to succeed in most any profession she entered. Like most people who are really good at what they do, she wants to be compensated for all her hard work, dedication, long hours, and expert skill – such, after all, is the American dream.
The cost of national health care will be high either because good health care is expensive or because inexpensive health care will not be good. This is the issue which we face.
UPDATE February 2013- Maybe the answer is finally known. We all pay! With health insurance rates expected to substantially rise when Exchanges are the law of the land (2014), it becomes very clear that perhaps the system isn’t working as well as anticipated.