Can Government Healthcare Work in America?

Much has been written on this site and others, about the fallacy of a successfully run government healthcare delivery system in the United States.

Whether it is labeled single-payer, socialized medicine, national healthcare, etc., it is all the same and it will never work in America. In virtually every nation where the government runs the healthcare system, costs have risen well beyond expectations; long waits for treatment are commonplace; care is rationed and some treatments are denied; and taxes have increased to pay for the unexpected cost increases. There are no truly successful nationalized healthcare systems, when quality of care is compared to the gold standard: The U.S. healthcare system. By most measures however, the U.S. lags behind many other industrialized nations.

According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. ranks 24th in the world in life expectancy. This statistic alone should be cause for alarm, but upon further examination, we learn that the reasons have little to do with our healthcare system and more to do with the way we drive, what we eat, our violent behavior, our tobacco use, and our substance abuse.

The U.S. spends more on healthcare, per capita, than virtually every other industrialized country. But again, if we examine why, we find that this has much more to do with factors other than the actual cost of healthcare, like legal awards and fees, defensive medicine, malpractice insurance, the high cost of advanced technology, and certainly not least; the high cost that we all incur for the government mandates placed on health insurance companies.

We pay more for prescription drugs than any other country. However, the cost of drugs still remains only about 10% of our total cost of healthcare. Upon further examination, we can thank our own government for this. More on this later.

There is no arguing against significant reform of our healthcare system, but the prescription for the cure cannot be written by our current government. The Democrats in control of the U.S. government have only one fix; more government. They know no other way, it is in their DNA. But even putting aside politics, there is no way for a single payer system to work in America. Here is why…

Our Legal System: The American Bar Association would have us believe that litigation accounts for only 1% of total healthcare costs. This may be true for jury awards, but they are leaving out the biggest drivers of legal costs within the healthcare system. Things like legal fees for the defense, defensive medical practices, and malpractice insurance premiums are not factored in to the ABA figure.

Countries that rank above us in healthcare, according to the W.H.O., all limit plaintiff awards and have nowhere near the medical litigation we have in the U.S. In fact, if we were to just copy the medical-legal reforms of France, we could bring down healthcare costs in a significant way. Healthcare reform without true tort reform is only a haphazard attempt.

Immigration Law Enforcement: Virtually none of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. have healthcare insurance, since one needs a valid Social Security number in order to obtain coverage. Knowing that emergency rooms cannot turn away patients, the illegals have turned so many emergency rooms across the country into their primary care providers and pay nothing. These costs must be paid, so they are shifted to paying customers, driving the cost of an emergency room visit up for everyone except of course, for those who do not pay.

Illegal immigrants get sick, they get pregnant, they get into auto accidents and work-related accidents, they are involved in violent crimes, etc. If one multiplies the likelihood of these events by the millions of illegal immigrants, the result is enormously costly to us all.