William Thien

Asking The REAL Question About Health Care in America. What’s the Math?

Posted on: August 6, 2011

The premise of my most recent essay on health care is that our current system of medicine in The United States is more expensive and less efficient than many socialized systems in other countries because their people live longer and pay less for the services. That’s pretty significant. They don’t want you to know that here in The United States.

I concluded that the reason our system is less efficient and more expensive is that we pay into many systems, our own private health insurance, as well as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The administrative costs to maintain those systems and administer medicine is enormous. In contrast, in a country with socialized medicine, or perhaps theoretically a single, privatized system, they pay into only one system which is much less complicated, much less expensive, and often more efficient due to its simplified design.

The problem many conservatives have with government-run health care, or socialized medicine, is that it means more government. But I’ve proven that our current system of medicine in The United States, which is really a contrivance of a number of systems, is actually more government than in many of those countries with socialized medicine. Why? Because we have several systems all working at once with redundancies and multiple administrative costs to accomplish one goal, America’s health.

This raises the question, then, with conservatives believing in less government, and a one system form of socialized medicine which exists in other countries being less government than the system we currently have composed of many complicated systems, it raises the question, would conservatives go for such a single, socialized system (or privatized) of health care if it means less government, less cost, and more efficiency, or, would conservatives simply have an ideological difference which prevents them from accepting such a system of medicine even if it meant a substantial cost savings and that citizens subject to such a system of medicine lived longer, or, is there another factor in the equation that we don’t know about, that of the health insurance lobbyist that likes things this complicated because it is more profitable?

That’s a long question. That’s a good question. It’s the question they don’t want anyone to ask of the general public, I guarantee.

As a conservative myself I can honestly say that if it meant substantially less government and less cost and I got more out of such a health care system, my answer would be a definitive “YES!”

But America is not those other countries. Our social makeup is far more complex. We speak many languages and have many customs whereas in other countries, they have a more homogenous population, all speaking one language, perhaps all eating very similar foods and having similar behaviors. It stands to reason that it would be less complicated to treat such a population.

Yet, it still doesn’t negate the fact that our system of medicine in The United States is very complicated and as a result more expensive and probably less efficient, even though many trumpet our advances in medical science and diagnosis. The fact remains that people often live longer in countries with socialized medicine and if you ask me, longevity is really the final word on whether a system of medicine is effective or not.

And, as a country desperately looking to trim the budget, maybe we should look into it, even if it means less cost and better services.

I think the question at the back of everyone’s mind is, “has anyone done the math, yet?”

Copyright © William Thien 2011

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