ObamaCare Coverage, State Of The Union
The health care issues around the world are enormous. The fact is that the majority of world’s population does not have access to necessary heath care. Socialist countries tried to provide universal health care through completely government run and controlled systems. Those were never able to provide full coverage to everyone, as it was originally intended. They were frequently short of staff, equipment, instruments, medicines and money. People had to wait in long lines, sometimes for months, depending on what kind of services they needed. Health care coverage in socialist countries never even got close to heath care services in open market countries.
Many smaller and poorer countries tried a primitive form of universal health care through government run health care systems which operates parallel to a private market. In these cases, the government run systems are so bad that most people do not even use to those unless they have no other choice. They, too, also fall very short in most key indicators of success in health care systems. Generally speaking, people would always prefer to go a private provider, if they can afford it. Private providers, while they provide much better services, are accessible to a very small proportion of population, in these low income countries, especially when it comes to anything outside the routine problems.
In almost every developed country, having market based economy, otherwise, with the exception of U.S., governments took responsibility of providing health care to every citizen, very much like Socialist countries. The major difference here was that the systems were funded by relatively affluent tax payers. So, the systems are much better funded, and citizens have far better access to health care, compared to Socialist and third world countries. The major advantage is that in case of sickness or medical emergency, people need not to worry about cost and bill, at all.
Of course, this doesn’t come free. People who are earning, and earning more, have to pay higher tax rates to cover the other people with smaller tax rates and payments. This insurance is provided by government, and it is not employer based. So, the burden doesn’t directly fall on employers. This seems to be big, business advantage over the businesses based in countries like U.S. where traditionally employers, specially the medium and large sized ones, subsidize the health insurance for their employees. In other developed countries, businesses and employers, pick up the cost in an indirect way. The consumer is paying a higher tax rate, and hence, has less money to buy products and services.
Since governments are basically the single payers’ in these systems, they can very much control the cost, and keep prices down. This decreases the profit margins, and overall revenues of health care related businesses, in those countries. So, they are not left with much to invest in R&D. This actually becomes an advantage for U.S. health care businesses. Having blessed with multiple payers, and higher, uncontrolled demand, prices are much higher. This provides them with higher profit margins and overall revenues.
Thus, U.S. health care businesses have lot more left to invest in R&D. This is one reason why, U.S. businesses still dominate health care markets, the world over. Even many foreign health care companies, derive a very significant proportion of their revenues from U.S. markets. Most health care related discoveries and inventions come from U.S. which has significantly helped the world to better take care of disease and sickness. With thriving business, these companies also create a very large number of good paying jobs, even in this bad economy. If you are a U.S. citizen, unemployed, and you are hire able by a health care related business then you have far better chances of getting hired, compared to other unemployed people in the country.
The flip side is that the U.S. consumer pays all the price. The health care cost is skyrocketing, and is almost double the next most expensive country in terms of health care which is Luxembourg. It is often said, rightfully that U.S. health care is at the verge of collapse. Everyone accepts that it needs major overhaul. Differences are on what and how? There are all kinds of proposals being forwarded, ranging from single payer system to complete deregulation of health care markets.
In the middle of all this mess, Mr. Barack Obama won U.S. presidency, twice. In his election campaigns he proposed a hybrid of single payers and free market systems. The system is based on idea that government will run health care exchanges where people can buy regular and subsidized health insurance. Insurance companies will provide the insurance coverage, as has been a tradition in U.S., for a while. Most insurance plans are still expected to remain employer based. Generally speaking, American public doesn’t like government controls. Historically, everything government controlled is sold to the people, sugar coated as ‘free market system’ or ‘for their own good, safety and security’. Obama, extensively said in his campaigns that it will not change anything in principle.
Much awaited, advertised and hyped introduction of Obama care (ACA) was the worst you can imagine. Over half a billion dollar website was launched to facilitate the purchasing of health care through newly formed exchanges. To a huge disappointment of his own, his team and his supporters, website didn’t work. It had serious glitches. People could not buy, could not get information they needed, its database links with insurance companies’ and other health care providers’ databases were seriously broken.
Government proved, at the very beginning of process that they cannot be trusted on this. Most of developed economies are crumbling under the burden of single payer systems. They are being forced to do ‘reforms’, after which those systems cannot quality for being called single payer, ‘free health care’. The reforms that are being proposed are like, introducing ‘small’ co-payments, to ‘involve’ the consumers and make them ‘responsible’. It is becoming very obvious that both the corporations and corporate sponsored governments are just messing up the health care payment systems, even more. These systems must go back into the hands of ultimate payers, the patients and consumers.