The debate is in full swing in our nation’s capitol over how to fix the skyrocketing cost of healthcare that is bankrupting many families and pushing 14,000 people every day into the ranks of the uninsured. There are, broadly speaking, three main schools of thought regarding the challenges we face. Where does your thinking fall in this continuum? Follow me over the fold to read the prevailing thinking.
In general terms, most of the folks I have spoken to on this subject fall into one of three categories regarding how they feel about the state of modern healthcare in the United States.
Group One : Folks who believe that the current system is acceptable and that while more should be done to assist the 50,000,000 uninsured Americans find ways to gain coverage, no significant, legislative changes should be made.
The folks in Group One are essentially satisfied with the status quo and represent one end of the spectrum of thinking. On the other end of the spectrum are the folks in Group Two.
Group Two: Folks who believe that the “for profit” nature of the private health insurance industry results in the concern over profits outweighing concerns over people’s health. These folks cite insurance industry practices like recission and denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions as evidence that the industry puts profit above the wellbeing of its customers. These folks typically support what is known as a Single Payer system. Effective in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, single payer plans cover all citizens and are funded by taxes collected from all citizens. The provision of healthcare is government regulated and not-for-profit.
Somewhere in between the status quo thinking of Group One and the single payer overhaul favored by Group Two, lies the folks in Group Three.
Group Three: There is a middle ground between allowing the insurance industry to continue to do business unchanged and eliminating them altogether by enacting single payer. People who advocate for the “Public Option” are the majority of folks in Group Three. These folks argue for legislating a government administered healthcare plan available to anyone who wishes opt for the government plan. No American could be denied coverage through the public plan. Their argument holds that a government adminstered, non-profit health plan could operate far more cost effectively than the private insurers. This would make the low priced public coverage very attractive to those paying high premiums for their private plans. As more people begin to take advantage of the public healthcare option – so the logic goes – the private insurance companies would have to work to match the price or lose customers. Thus, the overall cost of healthcare would be driven down for all Americans.
Of course there are many variations on each of these three, broad ideas. The debate is fierce. There are many competing concerns. The insurance industries are making record profits and argue that the system is not the problem. Taxpayers are concerned about the spiraling debt that our government has accrued over the last 9 years and are concerned about how a public option would be funded. Advocates for those in poverty ask how in the United States with all our abundance, 50,000,000 of our countrymen are completely without medical coverage.
What do you think is the answer? As healthcare industry professionals-to-be, this is an issue that will effect your career greatly. Are you a Group One, Two or Three thinker? Sound off in the comments.