Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"I'm interested in hearing arguments against single payer healthcare systems. All comments are welcome." Response

"I'm interested in hearing arguments against single payer healthcare systems. All comments are welcome."

1) Our country can't support a single payer healthcare system. If we were to put a %100 federal income tax on every person in the top 1% of wealth in the US (which is about $1.98 trillion when looking at IRS figures from 2014 ) and used it to pay for Medicare and Medicaid, there would only be enough to pay just short of two year's worth of their budget (The total expected budget for Medicare from 2014 to 2016 is $1.592 trillion, and for Medicaid I multiplied the total spending of FY 2015's budget, which is about $1.596 trillion). If we take this and then add in the ACA, then we're talking crazy amounts of spending. So single payer healthcare sounds great on paper, but the real question is how are we going to pay for it all, especially when (last time I checked) the National Debt is at $19.96 trillion?

2) Single payer healthcare will do nothing but raise health costs. If every US citizen is using a government health insurance program, then the medical industry will essentially be offered an unlimited amount of money. A good comparison would be federal student loans. If you give an entire generation to what is essentially considered an unlimited amount of money, the universities (being the businesses that they are) will raise prices. To quote an article on a Federal Reserve report from 2015, "The report’s findings show that of all three programs the Federal Direct Subsidized Loans generated a 65 cent-on-the-dollar increase on college tuition, while Pell Grants generated a 50 cent-on-the-dollar increase on college tuition." Hospitals already extort healthcare companies by setting extreme prices for their services (for example charging $100 for an IV bag) since they know that the healthcare plan will pay for it as opposed to the actual patient. One of the jobs of a health insurance company is to negotiate prices (just like how a car insurance company would negotiate reparations in an accident) with hospitals and other practitioners, but more often than not the hospitals retain the power in these negotiations (instead of one car insurance company negotiating reparations with another car insurance company, the health insurance is negotiating prices with a business, which is basically a more sophisticated form of haggling). Pharmaceutical companies extort healthcare companies to an outright extreme. If you're interested, this is an article I wrote for a class that discusses how Martin Shkreli raised the price of Daraprim to extort health insurance companies (more healthcare related sources sited there).

3) It's not the government's job to offer healthcare or health insurance to its citizens. The government is not a business and shouldn't seek to profit off of its citizens. It shouldn't be giving out student loans, it shouldn't be selling auto insurance or forcing it by law, it shouldn't be putting tolls on roads that were built with tax dollars, it shouldn't be running/funding universities with million dollar football stadiums and tons of frivolous spending, it shouldn't be bailing out companies that are failing, etc. etc. The fact that we are willing to let the government force us to spend money on something that not everyone necessarily wants is beyond outrageous to me. I've never seen a section of the constitution discuss government healthcare, federal student loans, or government bailouts; it really shouldn't be allowed but somehow it's all slipped by through congress's ambiguous clause.
Is it even morally right for someone to walk up to another person, point a gun at their head, and say "you are going to help pay for everyone's health insurance or else I will lock you up?" Keeping this in mind, the top 10% of earners already pay for 70% of the US's total income tax revenue, and they generally get 0% of the benefits. A lot of people think that we can afford things like a single payer healthcare system or free college tuition by raising taxes on this tax bracket, but what will eventually happen is these people will straight up leave the country. The only other way is to promise to raise taxes on whatever we consider "the wealthy," and then raise taxes on every tax bracket above 50%, which is essentially those who earn $40,000 to $100,000 a year.

To wrap it all up, a single payer healthcare system would be a socialist program, and socialism only works until you run out of other people's money to spend.

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