30 January 2009
The Health System Debate – Insurance Barons or Communist Care?
Compensating the affairs of economic efficiency with the demands of socio-political rights is a constant source of tension in the United States. There is no single health care system; rather a chaotic continuum of insurance and health care providers. Is health care not unlike any other commodity, or is it the privilege of every citizen? Health care has elements of common economic behavior, however, there are also certain social values associated with it. It is this struggle of defining what health care is that causes such anxiety among economists. The pluralistic health care scheme of the United States, has serious socioeconomic implications, and American policy makers are looking toward the model of the Canadian system for answers. The United States must reform health care policy, but to what extent? Obviously these questions cannot necessarily yield clear, concise answers, however they will provide insight into analyzing the current and proposed systems of health care. The United States must adopt the single-payer system of Canada while still retaining a strong revenue base. This paper will discuss the strengths and shortcomings of the American health care system, and how health care is a socio-political enigma. Furthermore, how the single-payer system is the only realistic response to the weaknesses inherent to the American economy.
First, I must explain in general terms how the health care system works in this country. Unlike Great Britain, Canada, or France, the patient's needs do not determine the level of care they receive. Rather, their ability to pay. Health insurance is like a communal pot of money that customers pay into every month in the form of a premium. When a customer gets ill and needs to visit the doctor, there are three things that happen before an appointment is even scheduled. First, the...