Paul Wellman: Single-payer system is way to go

I am constantly amazed at the amount of pixels, trees and ink that are currently being squandered on what is and/or should be happening with our health care system, here in the good old U.S.A.

The answer is as plain as the nose on our faces. Medicare for all — single payer — is the only sane way to go. Full stop.

Almost all other civilized countries have one form or another of this kind of system. They all have better overall health than in the U.S. Plus their costs are much lower. As a bonus there is no such thing as going bankrupt over medical bills. How many people know someone that this has happened to?

Problem with this is it will be fought to the death (literally) by the insurance companies and big pharma. They are being thrown a large bone with the new TrumpCare bill and will not loose this windfall cheerfully.

All the evidence points toward the poor, the elderly and the rural folks are going to be the ones that suffer the most under this new scheme.

I bet is the people of Colorado are really going to regret their rejection of Amendment 69.

Paul Wellman

Clark

Community comments

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(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

I bet that the people of Colorado will not regret rejecting A69 because it was a massive tax increase on the hopes that then a committee could get together to come up with a plan. Hospitals, including nonprofits, did not think A69 was workable.

The part of healthcare that is under the most stress and the greatest problem for members of the public is catastrophic medical care which hospitals have to provide to people that cannot afford it and causes bankruptcy for patients. That requires that everyone be enrolled to spread the risk and contribute to the costs. Thus, that is likely to be a future solution.

But the daily healthcare of visiting a clinic or a fancy office, of taking generics or expensive pills is what people can figure out for themselves to pay for a supplemental plan, from their own pocket, employer to provide as a benefit or people to pay for a Cadillac plan.

Posted 21 March 2017, 7:18 p.m. Suggest removal

(Joe Meglen) jmeglen says...

Hi Paul,

“Almost all other civilized countries have one form or another of this kind of system.”

Your statement is correct. What is also correct is that almost all other civilized countries that have government controlled socialized health care systems are bankrupt.

“The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.”... Margaret Thatcher

Posted 21 March 2017, 8:25 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

It's an interesting development, and dramatic contortion of traditional meaning, that being "civilized" is somehow equated to the mandatory participation in an entitlement program for otherwise healthy, educated and employable free people. Previous generations of Americans defined being "civilized" as a model of law and order; respect for the Rights of others without any expectation of entitlement to unlimited resources applied to one's personal expenses or hardships. Past generations of Americans would also have not considered it "civilized" for the government to force people to buy something they neither want nor need. Previous generations of Americans also understood that socialism through compelled trade wasn't "civilized" at all.<br><br>This strange logic would also consider Cuba, North Korea and China among the most "civilized" nations in the world, despite their history of jailing political prisoners, not allowing free expression along with a litany of other "uncivilized" practices. I believe that being "civilized" requires rejecting a dangerous, unsustainable scheme like universal healthcare that would cause a lot of harm to our country. Fortunately, the recent election ensured that America isn't going to have a socialized, single-payer healthcare scheme anytime soon.

Posted 21 March 2017, 9:09 p.m. Suggest removal

(Zac Brennan) zacman says...

who knew healthcare to be so complicated....

Posted 22 March 2017, 12:48 a.m. Suggest removal

(Martha D Young) marthalee says...

Medicare and Medicaid were created during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Sadly, funding those two important programs has become a political football (nightmare?). Civilized or not, those of us who don't have to worry about getting medical care (especially our members of Congress and the Senate) owe it to our less fortunate fellow citizens to offer them access to healthcare (other than through the E.R.).

Posted 22 March 2017, 6:58 a.m. Suggest removal

(Nancy Spillane) NSpillane says...

Paul, thank you for pointing out that a single-payer would be a solution to the U.S. health care woes. I could not agree more. Contrary to a previous comment, nations (not in bankruptcy) with single payer systems include Norway, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Belgium, the UK, Sweden, Bahrain, Kuwait, Canada, Netherlands, Austria, United Arab Emirates, Finland Slovenia, Denmark, Luxembourg, France. Australia, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, South Korea, Iceland, Hong King, Singapore, Switzerland, and Israel. If these countries can do it, why can't we?

Currently, Americans get less of most kinds of care (doctor, hospital, surgery, etc.) with a free market system (that obviously is not working well) than the citizens of other industrialized nations, and our care is lower quality by several measures (from Physicians for a National Health Program). http://www.pnhp.org/change/Myths-and-...

Posted 22 March 2017, 7:31 a.m. Suggest removal

(Larry Desjardin) LarryDesjardin says...

Having lived in Switzerland, and managed an operation there, I can say with all certainty that Switzerland does not have a single payer insurance system. Their system is similar to ACA, with competing private insurers.

Posted 22 March 2017, 9:06 a.m. Suggest removal

(james Patterson) skypilot says...

Would you be willing to accept the Swiss system? An internet search of the Swiss system:
1-companies can't profit from providing basic coverage, only supplemental plans.
2-all companies are required to offer basic coverage
3-premiums over 8% of personal income are subsidized by the government
4-Max yearly co-pay is roughly $2,000
5-everyone must have coverage.

Posted 22 March 2017, 10:40 a.m. Suggest removal

(Larry Desjardin) LarryDesjardin says...

Well, I did accept the Swiss system personally for four years, so I guess the answer is yes. Of the three countries I've lived in, I'd rate Swiss medical care the best. (Followed by the US, and then France). You can buy insurance from outside your canton. I bought mine from an insurer located in Paris, so not even from Switzerland. BTW, company provided insurance is taxed as income, a change that occurred while I was in Switzerland. Putting the insurance question aside, the health care itself was top-notch, with prices well below US levels.

Posted 22 March 2017, 10:57 a.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

James,

I think many people in the US would accept the Swiss system and it is the sort of system that would tend to reduce costs. I think the description of no profits on basic care is debatable. It is my understanding that basic care has price controls so a super efficient lower cost practice could make money and a less efficient practice could lose money providing basic care.

The supplemental care, paid by patient or their supplemental insurance, is not regulated and thus expected to be profitable.

Posted 22 March 2017, 11:12 a.m. Suggest removal

(Eric Morris) ericsmorris says...

Nancy, does single-payer work in education? If it does, why the need for non-government schools?

Posted 22 March 2017, 7:46 a.m. Suggest removal

(Larry Desjardin) LarryDesjardin says...

US Government spending on health care is already higher per capita than most other developed nations. Just add up the current programs: Medicaid, Medicare, VA, and Federal employee health care. These programs are proxies for a single payer system. Yet other countries can fund insurance for their entire population for the same spending.

So, where are these mythical efficiencies in our own programs? Once you answer that, you find that the insurance structure isn't the dominant reason behind the US' high health care costs.

Posted 22 March 2017, 8:32 a.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

Well, VA provides health care at a substantially lower cost than Medicare. It is clear that allowing vets to visit local doctors costs much more than treating them in VA hospitals.

Also, Kaiser Permanent charges 10-15% less than other health insurance companies, but does not completely dominate the health insurance market.

The obvious conclusion is that buyers of health insurance are insulated from the actual costs and even those with little money are able to select more expensive plans.

Posted 22 March 2017, 10:08 a.m. Suggest removal

(Chris Hadlock) chadlock says...

A. break the tie between employment and health insurance. Everyone with health insurance must purchase from the individual market.

B. No pre-existing conditions, no groups, no in or out of network. Every single person of the same age gets the same basic premium. If you want the "Cadillac" doctor then you pay the difference.

C. Sure sell across state lines. Insurance companies must be forced to measure the risk against their entire pool of insured individuals. They can no longer offer special deals to large Groups. It is their business model of breaking us into ever smaller groups that allows them to raise premiums on individuals.

D. Hospitals and Doctors have to charge the same rate to everyone regardless of insurance carrier, cash pay etc. Rates for ALL procedures must be public information.

E. Backstop the entire insurance industry with a buy in to Medicare for all. This gives the insurers an incentive to actually find ways to save money.

Posted 22 March 2017, 11:16 a.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

Chris, all your recommendations make too much sense for our current government to even consider them.

Posted 22 March 2017, 12:37 p.m. Suggest removal

(John Weibel) jweibel says...

Same debate and the same failure to understand that the root causes of our worse health care outcomes need addressed first and foremost. Fix our food system and most problems will sort themselves out also. Too bad in Trumps slashing of the budget he is not looking at ag subsidies.

Posted 22 March 2017, 1:23 p.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

Chris,

So how do you deal with competitive advantage resulting from insurance companies signing up healthier people? It has already been happening with insurance companies targeting their advertising to people with interest in healthy activities.

The reason that large pools get lower prices is that the large pool will be more random and representative of the overall population. While small pools that provide good care tend to attract those with pressing medical needs.

I think the problem is that we have come to expect the same health insurance company will handle A-Z of medical issues.

That, for instance, the Swiss system has a price control system for the minimal essential health care. Thus, there is no advantage for health insurance companies selecting the healthier people and avoiding the less healthy. Then the Swiss system has what we would call supplemental insurance so that you can decide if you want to keep your doctor or are happy going to a lower cost clinic, etc.

Posted 22 March 2017, 8:54 p.m. Suggest removal

(Joe Meglen) jmeglen says...

Hi Nancy,

Your compassion is admirable. Your understanding of basic economics and appreciation for the benefits of freedom are not so admirable. Most of the countries you mention in your comment, like the U.S. Federal government, are bankrupt. They are not yet insolvent for they temporarily retain the ability to borrow the interest, which they will continue to do right up to the point when the music stops. The music will stop. Spending more than you earn has its limitations. Your suggestion that the free market system is not working is correct. This is because the government inserted itself into the health care system many generations ago which by definition is the opposite of a free market. The problem isn’t the failure of the free market. The problem is the government control of health care. The ever metastasizing federal government has indebted we citizens, against our will, to the tune of $90 Trillion and growing, or more than $200 Trillion in contingent liabilities that can never be paid. How is it that a hopelessly corrupt and bloated government that is the cause of unaffordable and unavailable health care can be trusted to provide the solution to the problem?

Posted 22 March 2017, 8:56 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/b...

Joe, where did you get your information on countries going bankrupt?

Posted 23 March 2017, 7:46 a.m. Suggest removal

(Chris Hadlock) chadlock says...

Scott, if insurance companies were required to treat their entire pool of insured customers as one big risk pool the premiums for everyone would drop to the levels currently enjoyed by the largest companies in America. The real problem with the individual market is not that the risk is higher for those customers. The problem is that when insurance companies run the actuarial formulas premiums skyrocket as smaller and smaller groups are created. This is the same reason that premiums are drastically higher on the western slope than on the front range.

One simple change. Require all health insurance companies to measure their risk across the entire pool of insured customers. Advertise all you want, but if the final risk analysis includes every single customer premiums will fall dramatically. Backstop the whole industry with a universal buy in to Medicare and watch the marketplace fix costs.

This simple change does not require single payer, it does not create Government subsidies and it does not create entitlements. This change also fixes the problems with rural areas being forced to pay higher premiums. Sure, let them sell across state lines that just makes the pool bigger which has the effect of driving premiums lower for everyone.

Posted 23 March 2017, 10:18 a.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

Chris,

No, if a pool has too many people in poor health choosing to be in that pool and another pool that are healthy then the actuarial results are just as skewed as for a small pool. As long as there is a system where it is profitable for a health insurance company to attract healthy and not unhealthy patients then it is better business to manage your pool than worrying about providing health care. At that point just subcontract out the health care.

Easy enough to have a health insurance ad showing a competitive runner doing a VOx test next to searches for running shoes. Ad attracts runners and will never be seen by those with health issues.

Posted 23 March 2017, 8:14 p.m. Suggest removal

(Jeff Kibler) JeffKibler says...

Chris, do you have any numbers on premiums paid by large corporations? I do recall that some large corporations back in the 90's decide to self insure. I wonder if any companies do the same today.

I do agree that the larger the pool, the more the risk is spread and hopefully lower premiums result.

Posted 23 March 2017, 8:51 p.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

Jeff,

Not uncommon for a company to buy catastrophic insurance so if by some fluke a company has more than average needing very expensive treatment that the company's bottom line isn't seriously affected. And then self insure the common stuff so that wellness and other programs do result in cost savings.

Insurance companies have caught on and will administer a company's self insurance program. It just means the company gets a bill for medical care provided instead of paying an insurance premium. The insurance company will have better fraud detection and so on than the company trying to administer their own self insurance plan.

Posted 24 March 2017, 11:35 a.m. Suggest removal

(George Fargo) gaf says...

Paul is right. Insurance is nothing but a mathematical game. Statistics 101. The larger the pool, the better it is. The pool made up of all US citizens would blow away any of these countries you don't like. Insurance would be dirt cheap. We had a chance to improve Medicare with the ACA when it was going to drop to age 55 but that got blown away. Drop the age to zero and we will have the cheapest and best health insurance in the world.

Posted 23 March 2017, 9:46 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi George - Regarding statistics, you are correct. The national healthcare debate, however, is about the use of force to compel a desired social outcome, not a debate over population size of the pool and/or the diversification of risk within pools.<br><br>While there is no debate that forcing everyone to enter into an insurance pool would reduce the individual risks, that logic has no limiting principle and should be readily rejected on that basis alone. There is also no debate that brushing your teeth twice a day and getting regular exercise reduces individual risks. While we're at it, not having children out of wedlock and getting an education reduces individual risks.<br><BR>Obviously, there are many, many ways that risks to individuals may be mitigated. Placing government in a position to determine what choices and behaviors create unacceptable individual risks can only end in a tyrannical government/culture that relies on force to meet it's goals. Do you want to be forced to exercise three times a week - because it's perceived to be in your best interest and reduces your individual risks or would you prefer to be free to make that risk assessment on your own<br><br>The healthcare debate may be distilled to two basic positions; force or freedom. Liberals want to achieve their healthcare social goals through force and conservatives want to achieve their healthcare social goals through incentivizing free people to make better choices.

Posted 24 March 2017, 11:53 a.m. Suggest removal

(Larry Desjardin) LarryDesjardin says...

There is a plausible argument that the makeup of an insurance pool is just as important, even more important, than its absolute size. We saw this when our ACA district was combined with another mountain district- there were no advantages to the larger pool. We both suffered from high costs.

The argument goes that the corporate pools are healthier than the individual pools because corporate pools only include people who are healthy enough to work full time for a corporation.Those who can't work full time are left disproportionally within the individual market. The irony is that employer mandates for full time workers, such as those in ACA, also tend to make the remaining individual market less healthy and less stable.

Posted 24 March 2017, 3:04 p.m. Suggest removal

(Dan Shores) dshores says...

Ken it is not about the use of force, no more than paying taxes is accomplished by use of force. The cost of health care has to be spread, and everyone is going to have to pay, just like any public good.

It is an interesting discussion, trying to devise some way to apply free market capitalism to a health insurance model. But the exercise is futile, it simply cannot be done and it is a waste of time to continue down this path.

The truth is, CEO's have only one goal and that is to maximize profits, if they don't they are replaced. This is why health care coats are so high, it shouldn't be any great mystery. The goal of any business is to prioritize profits, the goal of health care is to prioritize care and save as many lives as possible.

Conservatives do not care about prioritizing health care services for all and saving lives, they care about personal greed and preserving profits. Conservatives love to complain about how much health care costs the government, while ignoring the fact that the market based system that we currently employ costs more per citizen than any other developed country, while still leaving 20 million people uninsured. But hey......profits for health insurance companies are doing pretty good!

In a just society, we need more care for more people, not more profits for more corporations.

Posted 24 March 2017, 3:06 p.m. Suggest removal

(Carl Steidtmann) CarlSteidtmann says...

Dan

A public good is a good that is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous in that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from use and where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others. Does that sound like health care to you?

There is only one segment of the consumer price index that has gone up faster than health care over the past 40 years and that is higher education. Hmm... what do those two have in common. Excessive CEO compensation or maybe it could be just possibly be the steady intrusion of government into these two market segments, adding regulations and pushing up costs?

I have known hundreds of CEOs over the course of my professional career. Your description of them is more like a Hollywood caricature of an evil CEO and a far cry from the men and women I know. Their first concern is for their customers, followed closely by their concerns for their employees.

We do not have a market based system for health care or even health care insurance. Forcing people to buy a product does not make it a market. Its a tax. Something you have to pay for.

Yes, health insurance company profits are doing very well. That's what happens when the power of the Federal government forces consumers to buy your product. Your consumer has no alternative but to buy your product. You can thank President Obama and the passage of the not very Affordable Care Act for that.

Posted 25 March 2017, 11:28 a.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi Dan Shores - There you go again with the false assertion that profit is bad. I won't bore you with explaining for the umpteenth time why you're completely wrong with this assertion and why it defies basic economics. I'll simply remind everyone that profit in a competitive marketplace drives innovation and efficiency. I'm not sure why you're so against innovation and efficiency in the provision of healthcare services, but it's a free country. So, dream your dream.<br><br>Fortunately, the recent election ensures that America won't have a harmful single-payer healthcare scheme anytime soon, maybe for generations. Gorsuch and the next SCOTUS nominee should ensure individual liberty in America for another 100 years.<br><br>Have you noticed the GOP "modification" of Obamacare was withdrawn in the House today? I wonder how the democrats will try to blame the GOP Congress for not modifying the disastrous ACA they created and forced on us as it continues to implode from coast-to-coast? In another year, if nothing passes Congress and the ACA remains the law of the land, democrats will be begging for a modification before the midterms. The DNC bet the farm that by the time Obamacare collapsed (as they knew it would), Hillary would be President and a Dem Congress would parley that failure into a single-payer system. Unfortunately, when you bet the farm and lose, you lose the farm. Now, instead of Obamacare's intentional collapse leading to single-payer, Obamacare's collapse will lead to repeal.

Posted 24 March 2017, 3:38 p.m. Suggest removal

(Dan Kuechenmeister) dannyk says...

Dan S. says "Conservatives do not care about prioritizing health care services for all and saving lives, they care about personal greed and preserving profits." What an insult to those in the health care industry that dare be conservatives. What a flip of the middle finger to those darn conservatives that dare attempt to save lives, that travel to other countries to volunteer their time and expertise to help others and attempt to save lives. There are good and not so good people in all political spectrums but you go ahead Dan S. and just keep making blanket statements that denigrate any and all that dare disagree with your ideology. Maybe you are the poster child for why The Republicans control the presidency,senate,house, state legislature and governorships. Less insults and more open minded dialogue may serve us all better. Remember the last time a group of conservatives rioted on a college campus to shut down the free speech rights of some one they disagreed with. Right, me either.

Posted 24 March 2017, 3:50 p.m. Suggest removal

(Jeff Kibler) JeffKibler says...

It's interesting that someone who refuses to associate with conservatives knows how and what conservatives think.

Posted 24 March 2017, 4:10 p.m. Suggest removal

(George Fargo) gaf says...

Larry, it is an absolute fact that the makeup of the pool is important. That's how insurance companies maximize profits. Insure the healthy and weed out the sick. Long ago they divided the US into two pools - under and over 65. We have Medicare because the insurance companies refused to insure older people at reasonable rates. It is always pointed out that Medicare is flawed - losing money, stiffing doctors - and that is blamed on "government". The fact that Medicare struggles should be a big "DUH". You mean they can't insure all the old, sick dying people in the country and still balance the books? What's wrong with them bureaucrats?

If you put all of our population in one pool, from oldest to youngest, sickest to healthiest (Trump, according to his doctor), then we will get the maximum good at the lowest cost. Canada will be begging to join our system :)

Posted 24 March 2017, 6:22 p.m. Suggest removal

(Dan Shores) dshores says...

If conservatives cared about prioritizing health care for all and saving lives, they would now work to make the ACA better instead of now vowing to destroy the ACA by picking it to pieces, a little bit at a time. They are obviously unconcerned about the delivery of health care, but very concerned about political partisanship at the expense of the American people.

We heard over and over how the republicans had a great plan., so many plans. Trump promised better care than the status quo, healthcare for all and at lower prices. And what did we get, a tax break for the wealthiest Americans and millions left without insurance.

We were told all we needed was selling across state lines and tort reform. The GOP bill contained neither of these. Obviously insurance companies only goal is to maximize profits. They don't want to sell across state lines or they would be lobbying to do so. They want smaller pools, not larger pools because smaller pools allow them to maximize profits.

No Ken M., I am not against profits. Profits are great in markets that don't include whether or not a person lives or dies. And no Dan K. Trump didn't win because mean old libby's called people names, he won by lying, telling vulnerable groups what they wanted to hear while knowing all along that what he was saying was complete nonsense, and you bought it!

And now we are seeing the results. Complete incompetence, scandal, possible collusion with our enemies to influence the election, people are starting to realize that they were scammed, and it's only been a couple months! We'll see what happens in the mid terms.

Posted 25 March 2017, 9:27 a.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi Dan Shores - It's a terrible idea to try remove the benefits and advantages of innovation and efficiency from a market that has saved so many lives through innovation. Had the foolish idea to restrict the profit motive from the healthcare market been instituted 100 years ago, we would have much less advanced healthcare today. The idea that a society may pick and choose which markets the profit motive increases innovation and efficiency is nonsense that ignores basic economics.<br><br>Thankfully, the recent election ensures that a harmful single payer scheme will not be implemented in America anytime soon.

Posted 25 March 2017, 10:05 a.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

Single payer vs multi-payer is not really the issue, but that is lingo for everyone being covered which needs to happen to prevent people dropping coverage when not needing medical care.

The profit motive still exists even in single payer systems as there is money to be made by providing better outcomes for less money. And there already is a single payer covering a large portion of the population. It is known as Medicare.

Posted 25 March 2017, 10:53 a.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi Scott - I'm not aware of any life-saving medical innovations that have come from our single-payer Medicare program.

Posted 25 March 2017, 11:27 a.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

Innovations have come out of government research that is motivated by the quest for knowledge, rather than the search for profits.

Posted 25 March 2017, 12:55 p.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

It is hard to say what innovations have come from Medicare because it is paying others which makes it hard to attribute what caused the advances. Though, VA that is entirely government paid claims a fair number of life saving advances and major advances improving the lives of severely disabled.

Posted 25 March 2017, 3:48 p.m. Suggest removal

(Dan Shores) dshores says...

Ken M., perhaps you have not heard of the NIH or the National Cancer Institute. The NIH and the NCI have been leaders in cancer research and the development of therapies and cures for many types of cancers. Because of the amazing work they have done, many lives have been saved and much more could have been done but for the lack of funding. There is no private for profit organization that would do this work because there is no clear cut monetary payoff. It takes years and years of research, without the certainty of success that would be necessary to attract private investment and the prospect of a profit. No one is going to do this kind of extensive research and make the kind of investment it takes, on spec.

This is just one example of when the priority is helping people and saving lives, rather than profit maximization, great strides in innovation and advancement in medicine are made.

The only answer is a single payer system. If people could afford to see a doctor, medical conditions could be treated early on perhaps for hundreds of dollars, before they become serious, rather than waiting because of the fear of not being able to pay, and then ending up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars later on for treatment.

I wouldn't count some form of single payer system out. I won't let you forget that most people who voted, did not vote for Trump. Those who did because of the constant stream of lies and wild promises are now starting to realize that they have been had. Same goes for the voters would elected republican congress members and governors. They got elected by lying to their constituents and now the really hard part comes, having to deliver, and it has become quite apparent that the entire affair has been nothing more than one gigantic scam.

Posted 25 March 2017, 3:48 p.m. Suggest removal

(Ken Mauldin) KenM says...

Hi Lock - Perhaps we could agree that the quest for knowledge moves at a much slower pace than the quest for profits.

Posted 25 March 2017, 3:58 p.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

I think news on another front this week demonstrates how government regulations prevents reducing costs. Some researchers announce how they used a 3D printer and a few dollar computer chip that can be plugged into an iPhone to use it's camera and image processing as a sperm fertility checker with 98% accuracy.

So at that point it sounds like a potential product that could serve as a cheap personal diagnostic tool instead of trips to a doctor and lab tests. And then article says it will take a couple of years of FDA testing.

I have no idea why FDA needs to test something like that. What's the potential harm? Someone that is concerned gets a result that causes a trip to a doctor?

FDA should protect patients from harm, not protect testing companies from competition.

Posted 25 March 2017, 8:06 p.m. Suggest removal

(Michael Bird) stmb77 says...

If all insurance companies were removed from healthcare, the administrative personnel would have to be replaced and I believe they would be replaced by federal employees, who receive defined pension benefits which allow a retirement after 20 yrs,comprehensive health insurance including partially paying for dependents, multiple vacation days not provided by private industry, unused sick day carryover, great difficulty in firing incompetents, etc. which private industry cannot afford.. Plus their basic pay is higher so they can be no savings in personnel costs but instead an increase. Now that the 25% (use your own figure) administrative cost by deleting all insurance companies has been provided by reduced by higher personnel costs, the initial savings seems to be about 10% of total health care costs. But hold on there nelly. No one above has provided any detailed, specific plan to reduce the 75% or 80% of health care costs that are medical. Lower medical costs mean paying less but to whom ? Pharma and how? Bidding ? Buying in Canada by changing our laws ? BTW - Canada does not have a single payer system -Manitiba and Ontario had very different plans. Their big electrical company, "Hydro", provides their own plan. But back to the topic at hand.. How do we reduce the massive costs of the medical portion of healthcare ? Efficiencies ? Specifics please. Even the supporters of A69 could not even answer the simple questions as to how much the A69 CEO, or CFO, wouild be paid or what the personnel costs would be. They had no idea. So will a blanket reduction of medical personnel payroll be proposed ? Same for pharma ? med equipment mfgs ? Single payor cannot lower costs if med costs are not reduced. 4th grade math. The 75 or 80% has to be significantly reduced - I respectively suggest quit concentrating on the 25 -20% ( elimination of ins cos ) , which in reality, is about 10&, after personnel costs are re-introduced.

Posted 27 March 2017, 2:19 p.m. Suggest removal

(Michael Bird) stmb77 says...

Please everyone read the 4/2/17 Pilot about MEDICAL costs with more to come. Insurance simply pays high and higher costs. Got it ? Insurance premiums are high because of HIGH medical costs and not because of high profits, which are regulated and 30% lower than the S&P 500.Medical costs amount to about 80% of healthcare costs so unless they are lowered insurance premiums cannot be lowered. No one is going to pay out more than they take in or they'd be out of business quickly. Could not get A69 proponents to understand the simple 4th grade math that a massive increase in the 80% (medical) cannot produce lower healthcare costs even if administrative costs were lowered. It appears that more columns will be forthcoming.

Posted 2 April 2017, 4:50 p.m. Suggest removal

(Lock McShane) Lock_McShane says...

Single-payer will be able to address the costs of health care. Our current system profits by high costs; there is no incentive to cut costs. The “free market” cannot control costs; it is time that government does.

Posted 3 April 2017, 12:12 a.m. Suggest removal

(Michael Bird) stmb77 says...

A single payer system cannot lower costs unless the majority of costs , medical, are significantly reduced because these account for about 80% of healthcare costs. So do you, Lock and Dan S, suggest reducing MDs, RNs, hospitals, etc. income imposed by a new government run plan ? Single payer systems control these costs by paying much lower payments than our current system so s p e c i f i c a l l y how do you propose cutting all MDs income and I am not talking about a small reduction in office (administrative-the 20% of healthcare) but medical cost reductions ? Same question for hospital expense ? Med equipment mfgs ? Etc. ? Do you propose simply telling providers that they'll be receiving a specified amount after your new plan goes into effect ? Simply saying something will address the costs of health care is akin to saying we're going to have world peace. When a statement is backed by facts, it becomes credible so if we were to create a single payer system, show a time line, payment schedule, benefits,premiums or healthcare tax, administration, costs, and anything else I may have missed. Please.

Posted 20 April 2017, 11:18 a.m. Suggest removal

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