Many foreigners come to the US seeking advanced medical care, unavailable in their home countries because of improper care or no care at all. Yet the media cries out that we, America, should also form a system like those inferior government-run systems of European countries.
Just as the government‘s IRS doesn’t make paying taxes any easier, so would government-run health care provide poorer quality care than the private sector.
A lot of people are saying that the government would eliminate the middle man. But there is ample evidence that government itself is the middle man. For the government has set heavy regulations on the private sector in an attempt to cut costs. But in the end it only raises them much higher. The real costs of a government-run health care system are being pushed onto the private sector.
Many will argue that it is the uninsured that hike up the prices of the private sector by creating a “hidden tax” used to pay for their health care. But, in fact, it turns out that the uninsured add only about 1\% in hidden costs to the price of the average insurance plan. A far greater tax is caused by the government-run health care’s low reimbursement rates, which add about 10\% in hidden costs.
Supporters of socialized medicine often claim that when the government runs the till, it can negotiate lower prices up and down the line. If economic history has taught us anything, however, it’s that government price controls have been an unmitigated disaster every time they have been applied.
An example of this was during World War II when the government created an agency with the authorization to place price ceilings on everything. This caused the quality of products to decline and a black market to emerge, selling everything from cars to underwear. Another example comes from the researchers at the University of Connecticut Center for Healthcare and Insurance, whose studies recently found that government interference in drug pricing has caused $188 billion in lost R&D (Research and Development) spending since 1960. That money would have gone to developing new life-saving medicines.
The government has already launched two health care programs: Medicare and Medicaid. In one year Medicare spent $427 billion (16\% of the federal budget) and Medicaid spent $338 billion. Both also impose price controls by setting low reimbursement rates to doctors and hospitals. Just about half of all doctors have stopped seeing or are limiting the number of new Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Another government program, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), was started to help provide health insurance for children from low-income homes. However, in many states the program has spiraled out of control. In four states adults are enrolled in SCHIP; nationwide, 600,000 adults are covered by the program. In six states SCHIP money is spent on more adults than children; meanwhile, SCHIP has failed to enroll almost 2,000,000 children who qualify.
And yet another government-run program, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has failed to prove that government-run health care can actually work. The VA is simply unable to react with enough speed and efficiency to deal with the injuries of modern warfare. Often a claim will take 127-177 days to process, well above private industry average (98.5). An appeal takes a staggering 657 days! In a House testimony last year, the Government Accountability Office reported that the VA is near the breaking point.
All these messes that the government has created should be enough to convince us that government healthcare will NOT be more efficient, and that we should support the private sector instead of any government-run system.