by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Obama’s proudest accomplishment is increasing the number of Americans with health insurance. A better idea would be to help people escape government care altogether.
As I wrote after my recent surgery, hospital bureaucracy is toxic for patients. Unfortunately, calls for reform usually come from people who want more of the same — more health insurance coverage, more Medicaid, more layers of government oversight.
Our likely next president will push for more government-run health care.
“Single payer would have lower costs,” she claimed when pushing HillaryCare.
Progressives love that phrase, “single payer.” It suggests that medical costs will be covered not by you but by some benign other, without the nastiness of profit.
“Get profit out, get the private health insurance company out,” says filmmaker Michael Moore.
I reminded him that under Canada’s government-run system, patients wait in line for care, often for months. He replied, “That’s the line where they live three years longer than we do! That’s the line I want to be in!”
It’s true — Canadians and Europeans live longer. Progressives cite that to plug single payer. But it’s deceitful. Canadians live longer not because their health care system is better, but because they behave differently. They drive less often and so have fewer accidents. They murder each other less often. They’re less likely to be fat, or as I said to Moore, to “look like you.” …
… Patients with high deductibles and Health Savings Accounts ask important questions: “Doc, do I really need that test? What does it cost?” They shop around.
Suddenly, there’s the beginning of an actual market. When patients shop, doctors strive to please patients rather than distant bureaucrats. More doctors give out their email addresses and cellphone numbers, and shorten waiting times. Their bills are easier to read because the providers want customers to pay them!
Government and insurance companies don’t make health care free. Such third-party payments just hide the cost, which increases the costs and makes payment more complicated.