The rollout of Obamacare has been abysmal. This failure, in which only about 100,000 people have been able to sign up for health insurance, gives conservatives plenty of political capital to expend at the failure of a big government program.
The real lesson of the failed rollout, including the loss of health insurance plans by millions of Americans, is that the only successful way forward for less expensive health costs and increased coverage of Americans is a single-payer system.
A single-payer health care system means that the government pays for health insurance and health care costs by taxation, rather than premiums through a private plan. Many call this “socialized medicine,” but it isn’t. The government would not run hospitals or medical care itself, only insurance.
Many believe this proposition would not be viable, but in fact it is the most sensible and cost-effective approach to reducing healthcare costs and improving medical care.
The U.S. ranks 37th in the world in terms of best healthcare systems. Countries such as Saudi Arabia are ranked higher than the U.S. in terms of cost and care provided. The country with the best health care system is France, with a combined public and private model that works extremely well in providing universal coverage and quality medical care.
The French system would also work tremendously well in the U.S. There is no reason to completely eliminate private insurers. The best thing would be to keep private insurers and simply have government pay the bill through payroll taxes.
Many will ask about the cost for health insurance companies, but I counter with a simple question: who cares? Let them fail and collapse if it means we can give health care coverage to all Americans at a cheaper cost. Making money off people getting sick is a disgusting concept itself, and no one should have to worry about being dropped from coverage or increased premiums simply because they get sick.
A single-payer system in the U.S. would also save a tremendous amount of money in terms of overall healthcare costs, and if all young people are covered, a healthier generation of Americans will be more productive and better educated.
According to a study HR 676_Friedman_7.31.13_proofed.pdf done by the Department of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the U.S. would save $592 billion annually by implementing a single-payer system.
The study focused on a bill already before Congress, H.R. 676, which not only provides complete funding for the program, but also puts cost-controls in effect to anticipate cost increases in the future. The bill also creates the necessary model of taxation, an unburdening progressive model that would protect most Americans and properly fund the entire system. The study also finds that 95 percent of American households would experience no cost increases and would save money on healthcare costs.
Institutions like AU would no longer have to worry about providing health insurance to their students, and this could save money for those in the private sector. It would also allow universities to focus more resources on education, and health insurance would now be guaranteed for all students, improving their educational opportunities and lives.
A single-payer system is not only more efficient than Obamacare and employer-based insurance, but costs less and covers more Americans. This isn’t an ideological argument at all, rather it is one of efficiency and cost-savings. It is time the U.S. enact guaranteed health insurance for all citizens.
John Foti is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs.