In this week’s No Man’s Land, we discuss the merits of a private healthcare system versus a reformed public system. We both agree Obamacare has both good and bad characteristics. Shamus and I like the guarantee of insurance despite pre-existing conditions. We also like the ability for young people to stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26. However, premiums are much too high. Should we fix the problems by going to a private system or going all in on socialized medicine?
Private Healthcare is the Only Way
By Shamus Fisk
Over the past eight years, Obamacare transitioned from a campaign promise into a reality. Through this creation, we have the perfect example of what happens when the government tries to create nationwide government social systems. The Obamacare website rarely works and crashes regularly. Coverage takes longer to process than standard insurance companies. In fact, some never receive the coverage. Obamacare simply does not run as efficiently as a privatized business, which is why President Trump disbanded Obamacare effective immediately at his Address to Congress speech on March 1. Although, his replacement plan is not exactly what anybody expected.
Instead of trying to create governmental social systems to ensure supposedly quality insurance, what the government should be doing instead is to break up the cornering of markets. It needs to push back the major insurance companies who have raised the prices of the medical industry for decades. Instead of trying to impose the government to create public social structures, why do we not allow the one thing that makes the free market thrive over any other economic system in the world: competition. One of the few things I believe the government should have control over is the ability to break apart mega corporations. This effectively stops them from creating a monopolized market. If major insurance companies want to raise the price on their product, you could simply switch to a more reasonably priced company with the same coverage and products available to you.
Remove the bureaucracy, eliminate the politics, and break apart monopolies. If you want our healthcare system to improve, that is the simple solution. Allow the competition of companies, but do not give companies the power and ability to become super corporations. There will always be a better-privatized business offering a better product for a lower price because of competition. President Trump brought up an astounding idea for health insurance customers. Simply allow customers to buy health insurance across state lines, driving competition even further in the medical market.
Creating medical health infrastructures within government run institutes does not work. Canada’s health system is once again another prime example of my point. Canada’s health services are completely government run. But, in multiple accounts, Canadian citizens who fell deathly ill had to come to America for healthcare for two reasons. The first being the waiting time would’ve been too late for these individuals. Second, the healthcare you are given in America is astonishingly better than the care provided from the Canadian free health care system. Once again this supports my claim that competition is the key to the improvement of the current healthcare system in the United States.
Go All In on Public Healthcare
By Tayler Houston
Most of the time when we start these debates, I feel I have a reasonable shot at winning even though I take the more “left” side. This week I do not possess that feeling. I know the readers of this site probably will not agree with my section at all. I ask you to simply keep an open mind and let the statistics and reasoning sink in. Without further ado, here goes my stab at public healthcare.
The answer to fixing American healthcare lies not in a complete overhaul of the system, but in building onto the existing apparatus. I am a moderate Republican, but I truly believe the future of healthcare lies in a public system. Shamus makes very good points in his article. He is absolutely correct that increasing competition across state lines and breaking up monopolies would lower prices. For those of us in the middle class and above, the system would work very well I believe. However, we must remember that approximately 30% of Americans live in a lower class household. These Americans simply cannot pay for an adequate level of healthcare. In a competitive environment, they would be forced to buy only minimal coverage. These Americans need government help. Condemning them to poor healthcare is condemning them to an early death.
American doctors have access to the absolute best medical technology in the world. No country invests more in research and technology than the United States. However, we find ourselves with only the 43rd longest lifespan by country in the world. Japan, considered the gold standard of healthcare, comes in at 2nd with a five year longer lifespan than the U.S. Yes, 5 years! That is a long time everybody. In Japan, everyone must possess government health insurance. Citizens are responsible for 30% of their healthcare costs while the government pays 70%. The government sets all prices and keeps everything reasonable. Wealthy Americans live just as long as the Japanese. The difference is wealthy Americans live almost 15 years longer than poor Americans! I want everyone to think about the absurdity of that statement.
Lest everyone think longer lifespans are somehow an Asian secret, the Canadian healthcare system Shamus hates produces lifespans over two years longer than the U.S. The fact is socialized healthcare produces longer lifespans. The United States boasts virtually the shortest lifespan of any first world country. Now, I anticipate many of you are screaming about how expensive socialized healthcare must be. Canada spends $5,292 per capita on healthcare each year. The NHS in Britain costs $3,935 per capita per year. Sweden, the king of socialism spends $6,808 per capita. The U.S. spends a whopping $9,403! Our hybrid system of government provided Obamacare and private insurance costs three times more than the entirely public NHS in the UK.
The way to lower our costs is not to go private. Would that lower costs? Sure, but it would also exasperate the already absurd lifespan gap between poor and rich Americans. The way to lower costs is to institute a true social healthcare system that forces more people to pay money into the pot. That is the way insurance becomes cheaper. It also ensures equality in healthcare that would lead to a rise in lifespan and quality of life for all Americans