Counter-proposal to national health care system

There are quite a few uninsured in America, a consequence of the payment methods and the lack of a national health-care system. I consider such a system to be frought with problems eual to, if not worse, than the present system, with dire long-term effects.

However, with 41 millions, could the US set up a non-profit company, guarranteed by US government money and under some scrutiny by the Treasury department, to cover these peope as an insurer of last resort? They would have to pay, and would recieve a less-than perfect level of coverage, but would be preotected from big accidents. As an additional aid, it could increase Income Tax revenues long-term, by keeping people to work.

I understand it would need a competant financial manager, and would not be easy. Yes, could this work?

The government already does this.

It’s called Medicare.

Medicare is a Health Insurance Program for:

  • People 65 years of age and older.
  • Some people with disabilities under age 65.
  • People with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant).

As of 1999, Medicare covers 39,140,386 people.

The cost of the Medicare program doubled over the last 10 years ending with $238 billion in spending in 2001.

So $240 billion is a rough guess to start to provide basic, low coverage health care to the 41 million uninsured and underinsured in America.
Two issues come to mind:

  1. Where do you get $240 billion for the program just to start it? After all, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the Medicare program’s spending will double again in the next decade for a total cost of $3.3 trillion as the entire country ages, especially with the retirement of the Baby Boomers.

Chances are, the uninsured costs system would also increase. If only by 50 percent during the next ten years, that’s still $1.65 trillion for for the program.

(The FY2001 federal budget is $1.8 trillion. In FY 2001 Medicare comprised 12 percent of all Federal spending. That means, if an uninsured program existed today, probably one-quarter of the entire federal budget would be taken up by just these two programs.)

  1. Do you really think the Bush Administration cares?

** Duckster **, could I point out that the Medicare system, as you described it, covers people who have (or are likely to have) serious health issues (elder people, disabled people, people with kidney failure)? …Especially since the major part of health expenses occur at the very end of one’s life…
So, a programm providing health care for a roughly equivalent number of uninsured people who would be on the average in much better health would necessarily be much less costly. A very WAG would be 1/4 and probably less than the cost of Medicare as you describe it.

Single payer is the way to go.


We all contribute to the success of this system.

If we are not allowed to enjoy the fruits of this system’s success, financially, then we can certainly demand that we get honest, competent health care.

Slash a few billion from the DODs budget, and we’ll all be fine.

“A few billion” wouldn’t even come close to it.

Aside from which, your interjection is simpl-mided, is mostly a political jab with no evidence nor any actual justification. In any event, I do enjoy many benefits from America as is. I have insurance, am getting an excellent edjucation (in a public university, no less) and DO NOT WANT the US government taking over my health care.

Quite frankly, I’d boycott it.

My particular idea would involve more those who can’t afford insurance, as defined by a maximum income level, i.e., over this amount and you can’t join up.The government wouldn’t provide it, oer se, but could give them the option of signing up, which would be taken out of their tax dollars specifically.

While the total cost would go up, and the average would be greater than most insureres, 41 million is a lot of spreading around to do.

It isn’t a perfect solution, and may still be too costly, but is MUCH perferable than the extremely inneficient and likely economically stultifying single-payer plan.

Well, if you are talking about inefficiency then nothing beats the U.S. health care system! It is a bureaucrat’s wet dream. As a doctor I knew in Canada once explained to me, in his office of several physicians he had one employee who spent a fraction of her time on reimbursement issues. He said that for the same size office in the U.S., they would probably need like 2 or 3 employees full time to deal with reimbursement! I mean the one thing that one might be concerned with in a single-payer system is a reduction in employment due to the fact that we’ll have less people pushing stupid pieces of paper around than we do now!

As for your proposal, you haven’t really explained how it differs from current programs like Medicare or Medicaid and haven’t shown that those 40 million not currently insured would end up being insured under it.

Also, people are in some sense already insured against “big accidents” because a hospital will not turn away a patient for extreme emergency care. So, we are already paying these costs in our system. The problem is that what we are not paying for is some preventative maintenance that would keep people healthier plus cost less over the long run.

They wont’ turn you away, but you go into debt, I believe.

Anyway, I disagree. I think the way to go is a tax credit. Give everyone a tax credit (or maybe just the poor, whatever) and let them go buy their own insurance.

The only reason I disagree with single-payer here in the US is that I think the government would screw it up.

Hmmm…May I point out that the healthcare costs in the US are way higher than in other western countries with a public healthcare system and that the US system is less efficient according to various indicators (WHO ranking, life expectancy, etc…). So, it’s IMO difficult to argue that these public healthcare systems are extremely inneficient. Available evidences seem to point to the contrary…

*Wonders why his last post didn’t go through. Annoyed, decides to respond in full another day.

I, for one, do not want the government involved in my health care.

I also want to know how it is that a doctor in Canada knows how many people it would take for reimbursement issues in the US. I’m sure that doctor is well qualified to discuss paperwork in his office, but what is he basing his assumption of an American doctor’s office on?

catsix: Well, that conversation I mentioned was a while ago now (at least 8 years) but my recollection is that his knowledge came from medical colleagues he knew in the U.S.


So Rougy if you demand honest, competent health care and the Doctors want to be paid for it, who are you going to steal the money from? Are you going to force the Doctors to provide you the service you demand because you ‘deserve’ it? Or are you going to force someone else to pay for your health care because you ‘deserve’ it?

Rougy, you are allowed to enjoy the fruits of this system. But you have to earn those fruits. It’s simple. Work hard, learn and earn your living. I know it sounds amazing but most of the people in the US do just what I described and prosper.


>> We all contribute to the success of this system.

That is very debatable and, in any case, some contribute more than others and are entitled to get more than others.