(That's why we still have a broken system... :)
During the interim, I:
- experienced the Dutch healthcare system: Yes,
single-payermandatory universal coverage with competing private health plans works.
- reflected on our system: We are not just afraid of dying in hospitals, we are afraid of going bankrupt.
- experienced our system: My insurer put a mediator on the phone to help me get an appointment; this system is BEYOND complex if you need someone to represent you for a doctor's appointment!
- got good care from the doctors. Unfortunately, the situation with medical records, appointments, payments, etc. is a complete disaster!
- chatted with a very cute, passionate and ill-informed CALPIRG organizer. (Never knock on a PhD's door and ask them to sign a policy document!) I told her I was unwilling to consider governmetn insurance before we restored decision-making to patients.
- If we do not go to single-payer (unlikely), we are going to have competing insurance companies.
- Since private companies do not compete that much right now, we need more competition.
- People are more afraid of losing their jobs because they may lose coverage.
- We can fix both (2) and (3) by separating insurance from work -- your salary goes up, but you have to buy insurance.
[For more fun, read The Econmist's view or watch Barney Frank slapdown an Obama-as-Nazi protester.]
Bottom Line: We will not (or cannot) fix our healthcare system without strengthening patient-doctor relationships. Single payer would do that, but it can also work with multiple payers (gov't or private insurance) and providers, e.g., as car insurance does.