Monday, September 3, 2012

Healthcare Costs In Canada And US

Canada has a single payer healthcare system.  It moved to a single payer system and was able to provide universal healthcare at a lower cost than it had under a system of private insurance. Republicans and Democrats agree that healthcare price inflation is our biggest fiscal problem.  The Republican proposal for solving the problem is to increase the role of private insurers in the healthcare system.  The GOP plan would also greatly reduce access to healthcare via Medicaid.  If the twin problems of healthcare in the US are the high cost of healthcare and limited access, the GOP plan is exactly the wrong way to go.

Obama's healthcare plan is a political compromise. It did not believe that moving to a single payer plan like Canada's would be any more politically possible than it was in the Clinton administration.  The plan contains ways to reduce price inflation in Medicare, and to use the savings to extend the reach of Medicaid to more Americans.  It also developed methods to supplement the cost of private insurance for those not covered by employer provided insurance.  It is not a perfect plan, but it does deal with each of the twin problems of US healthcare.

In a more perfect world, with a better informed electorate, it should be a no-brainer to reject GOP proposals which worsen each of the twin problems.  Healthcare prices will continue to rise, and fewer American's will have access healthcare under the GOP plan. Unfortunately, we have a poorly informed electorate and a political party that preys on a misinformed public.  I wonder how Canada was able to overcome the political obstacles that must have been on the path to a single payer system?

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