How much would health care costs dropped if we abolished insurance?

Health insurance is one of the biggest bills most people have to pay, and many see nothing in return. When somebody goes to the hospital, the hospital and the patient both seem to have no care for what anything costs, because someone else is paying for it. This leads to a lot of unnecessary tests and treatments, some of which can cause more harm than good. Also, since the insurance companies just pass the costs on to their customers with a 15% markup, they have no incentive to keep costs down.

To clarify, you’re asking what the US health care spending would be if we adopted a universal single payor system in place of the current system, correct?

Would insurance companies still be allowed to offer supplemental plans like in other UHC countries?

No, i think he is suggesting just leaving everyone to fend for themselves. I assume costs would drop a whole lot, also a whole lot of people would die and many more be driven into financial ruin.

…and find some way around the law to hedge their risk. Because I can afford health insurance, but I sure cannot afford the bills for a catastrophic illness or injury…unless the cost of treating them falls to laughably low levels, which is not at all a realistic scenario.

If you eliminate insurance, what happens if someone has a heart attack? They can’t pay the bills. All wealthy nations have insurance, either private or public. Single payer is just using tax revenue as a single risk pool that covers everyone. Every other wealthy nation spends 8-11% of GDP vs the US’s 18%, and every other nation actually places far less (sometimes no) financial burden on the patients themselves. If the patients not having to pay bills is what drives up medical costs (it isn’t), then Europe would be spending more than the US, instead of half what we do because the US charges patients a far bigger amount in copays and deductibles.

I ‘think’ private insurance covers about 20-30% of all medical bills. That is 600-900 billion a year. If you assume that about 80% of their costs go to medical expenses, that means another 160-240 billion goes to other expenses. However those expenses could be overhead designed to keep costs low.

Abolish private insurance companies? Why? How?

Would abolishing automobile insurance make people safer drivers?

Insurance is a form of “socialism” (shared risks, paid for by all, benefits going to the neediest) that is so useful, the free market invented it.

There’s plenty of room for insurance reform, but it’s nuts to abolish it. Hell, private insurance is what makes two-tier plans, like Australia’s, work in the first place. Everyone gets basic-level coverage, but anyone who can spare a few dollars buys a supplemental plan, for extras while hospitalized (private rooms instead of group wards, etc.) These private plans are taxed, and that helps pay for the basic coverage.

When done right, insurance is a pure win/win for everyone. Like all free market ideas, it requires a little regulation to avoid exploitation. Insurance companies got way too much mileage out of “previously existing condition” exclusions, for instance.

The fact that every wealthy nation as well as most middle income nations develop some form of health insurance (either public or private) signifies that this method seems to work.

The only nations that do not have a public or private health insurance system, and where people just pay for everything out of pocket are 3rd world nations with per capita incomes below 5k. Once a country reaches middle income status they start working on health insurance.

The fact that every halfway functional nation uses some form of health insurance does not lead me to believe that eliminating it would make life better.

Insurance is a form of risk spreading, or socialisation of risk - the costs associated with a particular risk are shared between everybody who faces the risk, rather than borne just by those for whom the risk materialises.

Pretty well all developed nations employ insurance to manage healthcare costs, utllising either competing private insurers or a collective single-payer insurer, or some combination of the two.

As already pointed out, the OP doesn’t say whether he wants to abolish healthcare insurance completely, or just private insurance.

If the former, overall healthcare costs would certainly fall if only because, overall, much less healthcare would be provided. If everybody had to pay for medical care out of their own pocket, demand for all forms of medical care would fall, but demand for the most expensive forms of medical care would fall most. And where demand falls, supply will fall, and then the costs of supply will fall. Once you have closed a GP practice, a primary care clinic, an oncology department, an entire hospital, the cost of running it falls to nil. And a good deal of closing would happen.

If you just abolish private insurance and replace it with single-payer insurance, the likelihood is that, yes, the cost of providing medical care would fall, but for different reasons. Experience suggests that single-payer systems are more efficient, and basically buy more medical care per dollar than private-insurance systems. Various reasons have been suggested for this. The gains realised by switching to a single-payer system could be used to (a) provide more comprehensive medical care than at t present, for the same cost, or (b) provide the same level of medical care, but at a lower cost, or © most likely, some combination of the two.

Perhaps I must have done, but I doubt I have met many people in Great Britain who have had Private Insurance. Most estimates seem to suggest 5% of the population may have some sort of policy for what it’s worth ( we wouldn’t trust the ‘Free Market’ to tie it’s own shoelaces ), but many of those are more likely to get that as an unneeded bonus ‘extra’ from an employer. In an emergency they’ll still get exactly the same treatment no matter whom they paid extra.
This suggests public spending in 2013 was £125 billion, and private £25 — but that may include NHS paying private medicine to do some procedures; anyway Private Insurance is generally dying.
*In 2013, public sector healthcare expenditure was £125.5 billion, 3.2% higher than in 2012, while private sector healthcare expenditure was £25.1 billion, having grown 0.3% from 2012. Public sector healthcare expenditure has almost trebled since the start of the series, from £44.1 billion in 1997 to £125.5 billion in 2013. Private sector expenditure has more than doubled during the same period, increasing from £10.8 billion in 1997 to £25.1 billion in 2013.

And this says:
[li]8.7% of the UK population have a private medical insurance policy that would be adequate enough to be seen as comprehensive, according to the 2014 “Private Medical Insurance in the UK Key Trends and Opportunities to 2017” report;[/li][li]However, fully comprehensive private medical insurance doesn’t really exist in the UK;[/li][li]ALL policies exclude general practice and accident and emergency care;[/li][li]Few policies cover for maternity or mental health;[/li][li]Private medical insurance in the UK has been in decline, with the number of policy holders declining steadily since 2006;[/li][/ul]

It really wouldn’t be anything the average Briton wants or thinks about.
No matter how the NHS goes, it will provide most of what we need out of general taxation.

Expenses would definitely go down if insurance companies just paid legitimate claims instead of fighting them all the way MHO.


It would be a bad idea for the reasons already stated but it would save alot of money. Since 1992 inflation has increased overall costs 64%, at the same time medical care costs have doubled that increase and gone up 118%. However there is one type of medical care that has only gone up 30% and that is cosmetic surgery which is not covered by health insurance. Another example is Lasik surgery the price of which has not gone up in 20 years despite much better types of surgery being offered. Based on those numbers if we banned health insurance then the costs probably would not fall that much but they would go up less than inflation and in 20 years be about half what they are now in real terms.
There are ways to get the cost savings without banning insurance. That is reform health insurance so that instead of being prepaid health costs it is actual insurance. The best healthcare systems in the world such as Singapore and Switzerland operate like this.

Sure, lets eliminate health insurance. But we’d have to make a law that regulates the price of medical services. Something like:

Overnight hospital stay: $100 per night, $75 between 5-20 days, $25 for any days over 20
Transplants: $500 per organ
Minor surgery like liposuction, breast implants: $20 per procedure
All drug costs: $1 per pill, $2 per ounce (liquid)
Doctor visits: $10 each
MRI/CAT scans: $50
Creams, ointments, lotions for skin rashes: Free in hospital lobby

Unless medical procedures are affordable like that, we need health insurance so people won’t die

When I was in my 30s, I chose to go without health insurance for 8 years. Coincidentally I had zero medical issues during that time. Looking back, I was lucky.

Count me fully on board with this. Although I think those prices could be maybe 50-80% higher to cover costs.

Nitpick: mutualisation, not socialisation.

While we’re at it, why not just make everything free! Stupid insurance companies.

I think we should assume it’s some sort of April Fools joke until he comes back and clarifies what he’s talking about. :rolleyes:

I think the OP thinks that current health care prices are artificially high because of insurance, which can always pay, and is pondering whether eliminating insurance would force prices lower, because then NOBODY would be able to pay them, and they were inflated anyway.

I don’t think prices will come down at all. If we use auto or home damage as an example, whether the insurance company or the owner pays for the repairs … the the costs of the repairs themselves will stay the same. If we eliminate insurance, then all we eliminate is the insurance overhead, the costs of medical care remains the same.

If insurance companies are cutting deals with the hospitals, and we do away with the insurance companies … then costs might go up.

The OP seems to have a habit of never coming back to the threads that he starts. So the question is probably moot.