A column by Joe Flower in Hospitals and Health Networks Online laying out “eight solid, conservative, good-for-business reasons” for single-payer healthcare.
1. Transaction costs. 25-30% of healthcare dollars are spent paying keyboarders to parse out who owes what; meanwhile insurers randomly and routinely deny payments for legitimate covered services.
2. Employer funding. Why should employers pay for health care? There is no compelling, rational connection between employers and health care justifying putting the burden on employers.
3. The basic idea of insurance. The idea of insurance is to manage risk. The larger your pool, the more manageable the risk. With our current system, insurers can cherry-pick the healthiest and wealthiest, taking their premiums, leaving hospitals (and government) to pick up the tab for the sickest and poorest without much in the way of compensating premiums.
4. Value. “Costs and charges vary widely and
nonsensically, with no demonstrable connection to mortality rates or
other outcome measures. A single-payer system would at least be a
system, and might be able to get a handle on the wastelands of
profligacy hidden in those statistical variations.”
5. Risk cost of receivables. I don’t know what that phrase means, but the explanation makes sense. Trying to recover debts through liens, bankruptcy, and collection agencies is cruel, but more than that, it’s inefficient. Providing for everyone upfront is more cost effective.
6. Service quality. Service quality under our current system stinks. People think that “single payer” will lead to Soviet-style bureaucracy with obscure and arbitrary rules. Guess what? That’s what we have now. Mr. Flower suggests that single payer will lead to greater transparency, real competition, and better service quality.
7. Efficiency. Under the current system, we have people using emergency rooms to treat colds.
8. Patriotism. It’s hard to love a country that makes people choose between food, rent, and fuel oil versus cancer treatement, for example.