Everyone has probably heard the saying, “When you have your health, you have just about everything.” Most of us hold our health as a primary concern along with our family and faith. I have been in the healthcare field for nearly 45 years and can personally give testimony to the immense changes that have taken place over that period of time. We now have medications and treatments that were merely dreams of the imagination years ago. Unfortunately such innovations still can’t save all of us from dreaded diseases such as cancer and ALS. Much of the research and advancements in the field of Medicine have taken place in America. Our much maligned healthcare system is still the envy of most of the world. Some say that our medical care and pharmaceuticals are too costly. It is true that without health insurance, many of us could not afford the latest technology in diagnosis and treatment. I can see many ways in which we could continue to deliver the same level of care at a better price. One thing is for certain, a single-payer concept will stifle the very incentives that have produced our remarkable progress. Some politicians like to point to the Canadian system of healthcare as a “shining example” of a single payer system. The fact is that many Canadians who can afford private insurance travel to the U.S. for surgery and specialized treatment. There is a waiting list for many surgical procedures in Canada that take months to years before patients get their treatments. While many people travel from Canada to the U.S. for care, few go to Canada for similar reasons. Medications are cheaper in Canada resulting from special deals with pharmaceutical companies that are ultimately “made up” by higher prices to Americans. If we remove the profit motive, research will dry up. Developing a new drug, device or procedure is vastly expensive and are only done out of an expectation of future financial returns.
Competition is the cure for healthcare costs. More treatment options (not fewer) will lower costs. Hospitals and pharmacies must be more transparent with their prices so that consumers can shop around like you do for a new car or any other purchase. If we are given more information with prices and quality of care we can make better decisions with how and where our healthcare dollars are spent. Fortunately we are moving more to a quality outcomes system where providers and medical facilities are being “graded” on the results of their care. It is in the best interests of everyone inside and outside the medical community to improve things. If you are part of a single payer system, there is no reason to improve because you have no other competition. Darwinian concepts apply to our healthcare system where it is survival of the fittest. Things will improve despite the gloom and doom of Socialist politicians. I wouldn’t trade our U.S. healthcare for “all the tea in China.”