A capitalist defence of socialized medicine.

The American healthcare system is broken. My first-person experience is that it is merely broken (long wait times; exorbitant fees; healthcare professionals who are more concerned with billing data than symptoms). Poll data and 3rd party anecdotes suggest that it is severely broken (coverage is denied; rates increased beyond reason, arbitrarily). The twin problems facing healthcare are: 1) poor, expensive care and 2) unreliable insurance coverage.

I believe in capitalism and in the ability for markets to correct themselves. In this case, the capitalist response is (correctly) that I should be shopping for a better doctor and I should be shopping for a better health insurance provider. I have found that, in both cases these products are extremely complicated, the markets are completely opaque. Insurance shopping is left to the professionals (called agents or brokers). On the care side, actually shopping for a good doctor is largely left to word-of-mouth (there are no brokers). It is impossible for me to find good care at any price. It is impossible for me to shop for healthcare services based on price - I have found that the front desk will quote a price, and then later offer a cash discount. It is not practical to ask every provider for every procedure via the phone. It is impossible for me to predict what any insurance company will cover in advance. It seems like this is a problem too big for me to fix. Or rather, it's a problem that outstrips the utility of it's solution.

When lots of people have the same problem, and no individual seems able to fix it on their own (or rather it is cost prohibitive for each individual to solve the problem), it makes sense to cooperate and solve it together. The first thing you might do is look at other places and see how they solved the problem. Look at France, or Hawaii. In both cases people seem happy with their care; certainly I would appreciate the act of just getting healthcare without going through the rigamarole of providing billing information.

That said, I think the Hawaii system should be rolled out on a state-by-state basis. I don't want the federal government involved. I would like each state to take a good hard look at Hawaii and see if they can swing it. So thats it, a capitalist defense of socialized medicine.

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