27 March 2012

The mandate issue

The tragedy of the healthcare issue in the U.S. is that we can't simply be up-front about it and pay the "mandate" out of taxes. This would eliminate insurance companies, which currently all demand their own pound of flesh, and get the debate focused on the key issues of costs and services. If the U.S. could do that, I'd actually be supportive of incentives for people to stay healthy (and extra costs for people who decide to pursue unhealthy lifestyles).


BadTux said...

In most countries that tried the mandate approach, the end result was that the health insurance companies arbitrarily denied care to reduce their rates or increase their profits and eventually were turned into either regulated utilities or nationalized. The only two countries where this has not happened yet are the only two countries to recently attempt the mandate approach -- Switzerland and the Netherlands -- and in both cases, it appears they may be going to the regulated utilities approach shortly because costs are spiraling out of control in Switzerland and the Dutch health insurers are dumping their sicker patients onto the government-run insurance funds to reduce costs and increase profits.

So single-payer isn't the *only* way to handle providing universal healthcare, but it appears that the mandates approach is, just as the Republicans feared, a gateway to more government regulation. Which in this case is a *good* thing, since if you don't get the health care you need when you need it, you're *dead*, it's not like a car where you can just buy another car if you buy a lemon, you can't buy another life!

- Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

Karlo said...

The expectation that there's some solution that's going to appeal to the healtcare lobby and the average American is, I think, unrealistic. The healtcare industry in the U.S. is in an ideal situation, from their statndpoint. They essentially have a monopoly on a product that everyone will eventually need. They can charge whatever price that people can pay. As you mention, healthcare isn't like other products. When our lives are on the line, it isn't as if we have a choice and can just do without. It'll be interesting (in the way that watching a car accident is interesting) to see what happens if the Obama plan is found unconstitutional. We'll be faced with spiraling costs and a good chance of simply being denied a lot of basic care.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Judging by the grilling questions and snarky comments of the Justices, I anticipate the whole thing being thrown out.