The socialized medicine you fear is already here. It is generally privately administered (even Medicare is privately administered), but no less intrusive. Much of the money that previously went to health care providers now goes to a variety of administrative "benefit managers" and their shareholders. Prices paid to direct providers -- doctors and hospitals -- are now largely dictated by the major carriers in a very one-sided "negotiation".
However, we continue to talk about the illusion of a private health care system even though it largely disappeared in the 80's and 90's. Interestingly, the loudest voices now opposing "socialization" are the benefit managers and pharmaceutical companies that have profited most from their ability to reap double digit profit growth even in a declining economy as a result of their political victories in achieving increased public funding with virtually no accountability or liability. None of these companies is looking to return to a "free market" where consumers would actually have to pay for their care because that would drastically reduce consumption and profits. Rather, they want to continue to be able to suck revenues with as little visibility as possible from all of our pockets.
Our choices are simple:
1. return to paying our own medical bills directly
2. continue the current system and watch 20-25% of GDP going to medical care with almost no improvement in life expectancy over the next 5-10 years.
3. improve regulation within the industry and elminate artificial price protections instituted to protect pharmaceutical companies and artificial liability protections that allow benefit management bureaucracies to make arbitrary health care decisions without liability.
In some ways I tend to believe we might be better off with a reset that implements option 1. However, I don't think that many of us are prepared to pay our own ways. Given that, I favor option 3 rather than continuing to pretend in the beneficence of the foxes that now guard the hen house.
FWIW- I just made an appointment with my orthopedic doc today for next week. Our urology patients are usually seen in 5 days or less with surgery taking place within three weeks. I guess it depends on where you are at.
I personaly think option number 1 is the best. Overall medical prices should drop without insurance and increased competition among doctors
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