I am endlessly entertained by all the different opinions on the topic of health insurance.
Why not forget all the mantras from both sides and look at it from an economic perspective? “Frontline” looked at the programs in Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Taiwan. It shortly summarized the systems in Canada and commented essentially that England was a single-payer system.
What each of the rest had in common was: Those countries ran insurance-based systems, every person is required to purchase health insurance, if a person can’t afford the payments the government would pay the premium and everyone was insurable for life.
Now the differences: All companies are nonprofit, the state sets the price for each procedure and providers’ payments are set for every procedure.
The commentator interviewed the man who was in charge of the health insurance system in Switzerland. He asked that fellow what was the overhead cost of the Swiss program. The reply was either 6 or 9 percent. The commentator stated that in the U.S. it was in the neighborhood of 29 percent!
So here we sit, in a country that spends the most money on health care and yet is 37th in outcomes.
But let’s not forget, mantra trumps all.