One characteristic I’ve found common to conservatives in their worldview is the almost universal refusal to consider any expense beyond its first layer. Secondary costs and consequences simply don’t exist in what passes for logic to them. As soon as you interject cost shifting from unpaid billing in health care all of their arguments crumble to dust, but that doesn’t stop their endless wails about “paying for” someone else, even when it is actually the ACA that gave everyone more skin in the game of paying for their own health care.
The ACA is a horrible piece of legislation that didn’t really deal with these costs and will make insurance more profitable as the companies figure out that they are now regulated utilities, not competing companies, and no longer have the incentive to hold down costs. How’s that working for your electric bill? However, there is no path forward for the GOP that actually improves the situation for our health care system and adheres to the dysfunctional anti-social mentality they have cultivated among their base voters short of simply allowing providers the right to reject patients based on their ability to pay. As bad as things are in America at the moment, I don’t think we are quite ready for that glimpse into a Mad Max future that their policies ultimately would take us to.
The government now pays 65% of health care billing in America via Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and its employees’ premiums. This is currently accomplished with a large number of redundant functions among these agencies that could be drastically streamlined by consolidation. It is entirely possible that it now has the basic manpower and infrastructure in place to absorb the additional 35% of payment, especially when one considers that the demographics it is now responsible for are the highest risk/cost groups that have been socialized over the decades in an attempt to keep the insurance industry viable.
Having a large number of payers of health care costs, both in government and insurance and each with its own forms and requirements imposed upon providers has driven much of the rapid increase in health care costs. Fully half of all workers in health care now serve administrative functions, so there is considerable potential to reduce the actual cost of providing health care without affecting quality or availability of care. If anything, both could be substantially improved with reduction of administrative costs.
Given all of the factors I addressed here, and the “FACT” that American health care costs, at least, 35% more than identical care in any developed nation with a single payer system, logic tells me that all of the money now going to insurance premiums in America is doing nothing more than servicing the industry’s profits. We can argue capitalism and free markets v. socialized systems all day and not get past the simple logic of the bigger picture. Every insurance premium paid in America is unnecessary and taking its toll on our economy with no other purpose than protecting an extremely dysfunctional status quo. Every day we delay the inevitable move to single payer health care is dragging our economy another step toward third world status.