(Sixth in a seven-part series: Medicare for All – Quality and Accessible Care for None)
Few Americans are satisfied with the current health care system. But actual medical care in America is not the problem, it’s second to none. What needs fixing is how we pay for it.
The health care payment system in the United States is clearly in need of major reform. Our challenge as a prosperous society is to compassionately provide necessary medical care to those who have difficulty affording it but also to ethically relieve those now burdened with the cost of care of others through considerably higher medical bills or insurance premiums.
One of out of every five Americans don’t pay anything for their care – but somebody does. Doctors and nurses don’t work for free. The people who pay for this care are the “neighbors” of those who got it free or subsidized. What makes this so unethical is that those “neighbors” who end up paying more than what they legitimately owe are mostly being charged extra without their knowledge.
When people don’t pay the cost of a service or product, they want all of it they can get. It’s not a criticism of them, it’s simply human nature. Demand skyrockets when something desirable is free. I’ve had ER physicians tell me they’ve often seen the same people, on Medicaid or without any insurance at all, show up in ER routinely for the most minor of injuries or ailments. Everyone should pay something even if its nominal. It would discourage frivolous use.
The better solution is to move toward a market-oriented system that still benevolently provides care for the truly needy but doesn’t allow others to abuse the system by showing up in ER every two weeks with the sniffles.