Thank you for a thoughtful and well written article. I think you have identified several useful approaches to be convincing in explaining health care policy options to Americans. I have been the beneficiary of both Canadian and US health care options. Fortunately, me and my family have been largely of good health, so the system here has not financially crippled me. I am also fortunate in that I have, except for a 6 month period of COBRA, had excellent employer-supplied health care insurance. This results from my excellent educational (Ph.D.) and corporate employee (sr. management) experience. I understand many are not as fortunate, and this is a major reason why I think the current situation amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment. Worse, the current situation robs the US of significant potential to be an even greater nation, in many ways, not the least of which is being a kinder and better nation to it’s citizens (this actually does matter).
In agreement with your suggested economic arguments, I would like to point out the astounding waste of human potential and activity inherent in the current health insurance industry. Absolutely stunning waste of effort is involved; from the paper pushing of the patient, or parent of them, to the physician’s office, laboratory, pharmacy or therapist, to the transfer and documentation of payment and costs — all before bill collectors or lawyers or administrators get involved. This is a criminally wasteful expenditure of otherwise potentially productive resources. I would someday like to see a comparative analysis of how much actual non-medical human activity is required to keep this bloated system afloat, versus HCFA.
I also believe that the current situation will eventually fail tragically, given it’s cost. At some point the comparative cost of an aging population will be a huge black hole for the US economy, and that only radical reorganization of how this is managed will be available as an economic option. Medicare for seniors is comparatively efficient, but I see an increasing political movement (particularly by the currently elected pack of fools) to “defund” Medicare to allow the “efficiency” of the free market. This will fail, due to costs, but in the process of failing spectacularly, will drive the economic and political willingness for HCFA. Unfortunately, I think that only the misery brought on by this failure will supply the political will to override the ideologs who are preventing adoption of HCFA.
With respect to the idea that the US government is awful and inefficient and ineffective— I would like to point out that anyone who says this is a rotten treasonous bastard (or bitch, or whatever). The vast expense of the government is to support the US Military, the most effective organization in the world at it’s job. Efficient, maybe or maybe not, but effective — no doubt about that. I may or may not agree with the use of this branch of government, and how we treat the people who do the job, but there is no doubt that they do their job, and bloody well. Only rotten treasonous rats (or badly informed persons) say otherwise. So, there is that.