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Universal Healthcare: Inevitable Problems and a Can of Worms

Originally published by Authentics on Medium

Photo by Dominik Lange from Unsplash

We have a deeply troubled system, where billions of dollars are wasted on inefficiencies. Drug prices are skyrocketing, and insurance companies have almost total reimbursement for medical treatments, which means they can deny coverage based on their criteria. Today, health is a political issue, but politics haven’t solved the healthcare system's problems.

Excellent medical care is still broadly available to people of wealth and means. But people with fewer resources are stuck with the respect that insurance companies dominate the corporate boardrooms of health networks. Politicians abuse healthcare as a campaign issue and a means for reelection only.

Many people hope that giving the government an even more prominent role in healthcare — instituting a single-payer system or universal healthcare — will be the silver bullet for our system’s many problems.

“State of the art pharmaceuticals that are made to treat diseases may not be covered, Drug advertised on the media will not necessarily be covered under a single-payer system, waiting time for surgery will increase despite your equal contribution to the premium. Most politicians will not utilize a plan that they passed. Wealthy will pay out of pocket for better and faster care. Corporate lobbyism will prevent effective price regulation. And patients will demand better care from their doctor while the system prevents their flexibility.” Furthermore, the government has caused many of the problems we are stuck with today . So,  isn’t it foolish to think more government is the answer?

Our system needs new policies aimed at keeping the patient at the center of the healthcare equation. But even more importantly, we need new technological solutions that give more patients access to the best care and enable doctors to do the work they went to medical school to do.

Consumers Want Choice, Not More Government

American consumers expect to get what they want and get it the way they want it. Consumers are in control when it comes to buying electronics, cars, housing, or clothing. Consumers expect to find the exact product or service they need, pay for it how they want, and get it delivered.

Consumers expect the same choice and the same feeling of being in control when getting Healthcare.

How will consumers react if others make even more choices? Today, insurers and drug companies make many of the most crucial decisions. Will consumers be happier or get better care if the government makes those choices? Consumers today have new ways to shop, travel and socialize. They want new ways to experience healthcare too. Some countries have systems of universal healthcare and the single-payer model today. But what works well in smaller countries like Finland or Cuba might not scale to cover the many challenges of a healthcare system and a population like we have in America.

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