A fly in the ointment

Advocates for a national health care system make it sound so simple, so easily affordable, even that it is already being paid for with our current disjointed non-system.

The answer to our health care crisis is clear. We propose a publicly financed, non-profit single-payer national health program that would fully cover medical care for all Americans.

Physicians for a National Health Program

National health spending continues to grow at a rapid clip, year after year after year, with the latest figures from 2019 showing a 4.7% increase from 2018, to $3.8 trillion. That’s more than enough to finance all medically necessary care for every U.S. resident while totally eliminating out-of-pocket spending.


But that is not accurate and advocates for a universal system of coverage and insurance don’t understand how to make their case effectively

  • What we need is universal coverage and a single insurance system to pay bills, we don’t need universal/government run health care
  • We need the ability to obtain care anywhere in the US with all our records easily accessible to any health care provider we choose
  • We DO NOT need a system that eliminates all out-of-pocket costs
  • We need a system that is fairly and openly paid for through a combination of taxes on workers and employers, income based premiums and reasonable out-of-pocket costs
  • We need to set reasonable expectations which is not now the case

The idea that the current total spending on health care can somehow be diverted to provide free total health care is ridiculous. Keep in mind there will still be administrative functions and costs, there will be increased demand – a lot of it. Every entity working directly or indirectly for government to make such a system work will be earning a profit. Most of all note the key words medically necessary as they are significant and widely misunderstood. Finally, all estimates for a M4A type system assume health care providers will be compensated at Medicare rates which are 20-30% lower than what the private sector pays today. That is a very significant change and nobody knows the consequences.


  1. What we DON’T need is a greedy medical/pharmaceutical/health insurance industry that is dripping with excess profits. Keep it private but remove the profit motive. Why should some corporation get to decide whether I get treated based on some algorithm that includes factors that weigh for profits?


    1. Your perception is inaccurate. Insurance company profit margins are about the same as regulated utilities. Every system uses some method to manage the care received otherwise it can’t work or be anywhere near affordable.


      1. I’ll take your response as valid for now (research is hard!). Still, why does there have to be a profit margin for what many consider to be a basic human right? Then again, people profit from housing, clothing, food…


  2. Richard,
    Please explain/define what “What we need is universal coverage and a single insurance system to pay bills, we don’t need universal/government run health care” .


    1. Very simple, we need a system like Medicare that covers every person the the US and is financed through a combination methods shared by all. Free choice of health care providers and no more interference between patient and providers than currently exists.


  3. If the Canadian system is imploding just imagine what would happen here after a year or two of a grand scheme of unlimited healthcare for all. Step right up, free aspirins for everyone.


  4. I would just like to note that Canada’s national health system is currently imploding. They do not allow private insurance nor private practices. They are shutting hospitals daily due to lack of staff. Since the pandemic, people are dying from untreated illnesses because of the backlog of patients.


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