You're absolutely right.
And that’s the problem.
The problem with having any for profit system where healthcare is involved is that the emphasis is placed on the profit instead of the healthcare. You could argue that it’s fine that profit is the major focus of the system over care but that comes with problems, both for the individual and society as a whole. It’s argued that in a “true” free market system everything’s cost would be based on what people are willing to pay. That market forces would create a system where everyone could find their affordable service/s. The fact is with healthcare this wouldn’t work for two reasons.
The first is because for some (many) healthcare expenses are not a discretionary expense but a necessary one. No one want’s to die and that very fear can allow health care companies to force people who need a product/service to pay what they demand. The epipen is a perfect example of a corporation doing just that. In the end this means that people can be held hostage by their very need for a medical service to keep them alive. Secondly even without the hostage nature of a free market/for profit healthcare system allowing suppliers to charge what they demand, certain health care costs simply aren’t cheap either due to the R&D costs bringing products/services to market, production costs, or a small pool of potential recipients.
Okay, so if a person can’t afford the expense just let them die? At heart I’m a social libertarian, believing that people should be free to choose their own course in life. But even I understand that people often don’t get to choose, due to just dumb bad luck they can be saddled with life long issues. And more importantly no one is immune to this fact. Myself, yourself, or anyone we care about could be born or contract a health condition that will affect them for the rest of their lives and there’s nothing anyone can do to prevent it. Plus if they do bring it on themselves why should anyone feel compelled to punish them? Shouldn’t the focus be on bringing them back to a point where they’re contributing citizens again?
As well there’s also the issue of untreated conditions affecting the entire citizenship. Every hear of Typhoid Mary? This woman had a “carrier” version of the disease. While it didn’t affect her quality of life, she was infecting everyone she came into contact with. People not getting treated for health issues affects us all in many ways not just through communicable diseases. It’s been proven that untreated sufferers actual not only infect others but reduce the GDP due to a poorer effort and inefficiencies in the workplace.
I’m Canadian and grew up under a single payer system. From my perspective I can’t fathom why any country wouldn’t use a similar system. It’s far from perfect, but I don’t have to consider cost when I’m ill and can concentrate on getting better which to me is what healthcare should be for. Putting the suffering of other citizens aside the very fact that a large majority of American’s are one major health issue away from bankruptcy even with insurance is mind boggling.
I’ve noticed a very strange fact about many (most) Americans. They feel compelled to punish others for the stupidest of reasons. They just don’t seem to understand that while we have to preserve and celebrate personal freedom, we’re not islands. We’re in this together. Study after study has shown that a society that doesn’t attempt to lift everyone up to a certain standard of living suffers for it, and the US healthcare system is a perfect example of this. The very fact that members of your society are made to suffer due to some misguided fiscal libertarian ideal is just sad.