Essays On Socialized Medicine
Private enterprise or capitalism does a wonderful job running most businesses. Therefore we may confidently assume that private businesses, competing against each other, can also be counted upon to run the medical system more efficiently and much better than government. Well, to name a positive thing, we know that private, especially American, medical and pharmaceutical companies have come up with amazing technology, machinery and drugs. is it true that private health care forces should be allowed to run the medical system?True, occasional new businesses are poorly managed. We know that many, many people have been cured or had their conditions better diagnosed or alleviated by these techniques, machines and drugs. Why -- despite all the above -- do I find myself doubting this?Good Republicans and capitalists, if they are interested in saving money, should take note of that, should they not?Or if the standard of success is economic competitiveness, the book pointed out that Canada enjoys an economic advantage in having universal medicare.(69% once had such insurance, but say it was too expensive.) This number is rising by one million per year. (They are still licenced by authorities in each state, of course, and to some extent controlled by bodies of doctors like state medical associations and the American Medical Association.) Among American doctors, medical specialists at least make much more money in the United States than they would in Canada. But note that American medicine's having so many expensive specialists has nevertheless not improved the average health of the American masses (if I may use a convenient Marxist term).Now it might be argued that the American system is nevertheless freer and more productive than the Canadian system, and, indeed, in some narrow respects it is. The broad American middle-class just doesn't live as long as Canadians. (Incidentally, a recent study indicated that American homeless people don't live as long as Canadian homeless people. I presume that the reason is that most Canadian homeless have access to medicare.
And this is not to mention the sobering fact that 39-44 million Americans have no medical or hospital insurance at all. But partly the reason for this, as the book's authors point out, is that in Canada, unlike the United States, 60% of doctors are general practitioners (GPs) while -- presumably so that they may make more money -- in the United States 60% of American physicians have trained to be specialists.The provincial government pays what it thinks is appropriate.Health care providers are seldom if ever allowed to bill the public directly for health services.Health care costs in the United States have greatly increased in recent years. In Canada, on the other hand, as in most of the most advanced countries, there is a single-payer health care scheme run by an agreement between the federal and provincial governments.Therefore a number of cost-containment measures have been taken, including the gathering together of doctors and other health care providers and hospitals in HMOs, Health Maintenance Organizations. Doctors, hospitals and other health care providers submit their bills to the local provincial government's health department.Private firms run many nursing and retirement homes.Still, while I concede all this, like many people I'm not sure that private forces should be running health care. In 1998 an important book was published comparing the Canadian and the American health systems.Canadian medicare has caused a more active, healthier work force.This force is thus available to potential investors and employers, who, because of medicare, can build businesses in Canada without having to complexly negotiate with unions and insurance companies to insure their employees for most surgical or medical expenses.For an advanced country, the United States has a fairly capitalist health care system.While through federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid, the government pays a portion of the health care bills of elderly and impoverished people, and this adds up to tens of billions of dollars per year, most Americans deal with doctors and hospitals on their own, paying them out of their own pocket or through voluntary private medical insurance.