A headline in the news caught my eye recently. It read: Colin Powell endorses single-payer health care. The article essentially said that Colin Powell, a Republican, was impressed by the quality of single payer health care systems in Canada, South Korea, and Europe and believes the US should join them. This got me to thinking, which is always a dangerous thing. I decided to do some digging and find out what the pros and cons of such a system might be. Here is what I found.
According to Physicians for a National Health Program [http;//pnhp.org//facts/single-payer-faq] the pros for having a single payer system are:  Guaranteed healthcare for all citizens, no exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions.  Cost of providing care will be substantially reduced. Approximately 31 percent of current US healthcare costs are for administrative, CEO salaries and profits for the health insurance companies. Medicare operates with just a 3 percent overhead and Single-Payer Plans in Canada at about 1 percent. This overhead cut would save over $300 billion annually.  No premiums, co-pays, or deductibles.  The increase in taxes should be significantly lower for those who are now paying for health insurance. This one may not be a pro as the key word in that sentence is ďshould.Ē
Some questions come to mind:  How many Canadians come to the U.S. for elective procedures - approximately 0.5 percent.  How many Canadian doctors leave Canada to practice in the US each year Ė approximately 125 - 400.  Does Canada have longer waiting periods than the U.S. - Yes, but note that Medicare does not, so itís not due to being a Single Payer system, but something within their system causing the wait.
On the surface it sounds like a single payer system could be a good thing, but then why do I feel uneasy about it? We now have Obamacare and so far the government hasnít been able to make their computer system work so people who need insurance can sign up. I also remember the words of President Obama many times telling us that if you like your existing policy, you can keep it. Funny it didnít work out that way. I really hate being lied to. So what makes any of us believe a Single Payer System would work as advertised? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Thereís a part of me that would like a Single Payer System, because I sure dislike dealing with insurance companies, but on the other hand, better the devil you know than the devil you donít. I canít help, but hear the words of former President Ronald Reagan in the back of my mind: Hi, Iím from the government and Iím here to help. Obamacare is the government trying to help. On second thought, maybe the Single Payer System isnít as good as it first appears.