U.S. Politics: Universal Health Care

Recently my wife and I visited Washington DC and met up with one of her friends who lives there.  They were lamenting that the ACA actually raised their Health Insurance costs rather than reduce it.

Well…  That can happen.  And in the case for the U.S. it probably will happen.  Trying to introduce a Universal Health Care this late in the game to the U.S. is going to go through some growing pains so yes, you may see an increase but in the long run, once you have EVERYONE under the one umbrella, it should end up being way cheaper.

But Universal Health Care is not just Insurance coverage though.  In Canada, from what I know, all Health Care Institutions are Government funded which means Government dictates, or sets the costs on what operations, treatments, tests etc. should cost.  And these figures are determined based on how much the people working in health care are paid, how much machinery costs, how much medication and consumables cost etc.  So a fair price if provided.  So basically in Canada, doctors visits, hospitals and such are a fairly level playing field.

In the U.S., as far as I know, Hospitals are for profit organizations and can set their own prices for treatments and such.  This means one hospital could cost a patient a vastly different figure than a different hospital.  Not a level playing field.

Plus the drugs.  U.S. citizens are buying from Canada because the same drugs are way cheaper.  I do not know what is going on there, sounds like the government(s) in the U.S. are a bit gutless when it comes to the pharma industry.  But this is also another reason why ACA will have issues initially.  U.S. Health Care Industry is really in a mess.

Why is Universal Health Care good?  Insurance is a ‘socialistic’ ideal.  This is potentially what drives some U.S. people batty because they think ‘socialistic’ with ‘communistic’.  But all other first world countries have figured it out that a ‘socialistic/communistic’ ideal can also be a ‘capitalistic’ ideal as well.  They are not necessarily independent of each other.

So what is the ‘capitalistic’ ideal of Universal Health Care?

A healthy employee is way more productive than a sick one.  Which means your company is that much more productive.  Which means you company is making more money (hopefully).  So providing Health Care for your employees is in your benefit.  However in the U.S., the Health Care Insurance is often provided by the Employer.  Let us take GM for instance.  Back in 2015 it was reported that they were paying $2 Billion for their hourly staff (yeah sorry, old reference but times have not changed a lot, the company is still on the hook for the costs.)  That is a lot of money to spend.  Now if the the state/country provided Universal Health Care through income taxes like they do in some Provinces in Canada and like they do in most European Countries, the $2 Billion spent by the company could be used for something else or reduce costs for the company.  This saves the company money, which is a ‘capitalistic’ ideal.  +1 for Universal Health Care.

Universal Health Care means one insurance option to handle the well being of everyone.  With insurance, the larger the pool, the more likely it will weather a crisis.  Right now in the U.S. that pool is divided among many insurance companies.  This means an insurance company can easily be wiped out if there is an epidemic or something.  And because of this the cost for the insurance should be higher.  However it may not be higher currently because insurance companies in the U.S. can avoid insuring someone’s pre-existing condition.  Which is such a dick move for a Health Insurance.  ACA prevented that from happening which of course now forced companies to up their insurance premiums.  This is part of the growing pain and partly why some people saw increases.  But it is the right thing to do.  Hell, it is necessary.  Not insuring for pre-existing conditions is not much better than not having insurance at all.

But smaller pools will incur larger premiums because the risk is much poorer than one big pool.  So being ‘capitalistic’, our goal is to reduce costs, and to reduce costs of Health Care Insurance is to make one big pool to mitigate the risks.  Universal Health Care.  Capitalism = Socialism in this case.

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