Single payer myths

A pseudo single payer system has already been tried in the US – it was called HMOs, and look how that debacle turned out:

The United States has tried something roughly equivalent to the private insurance version of a single-payer system. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) were designed to keep health care costs down by restricting certain types of treatment. However, it quickly became apparent that HMOs were not the panacea to curbing costs. While HMOs were somewhat successful at controlling costs and maintaining quality, patients routinely objected to having certain treatments restricted by their health insurance companies. In fact, a series of studies by Robert Miller and Harold Luft found that those enrolled in an HMO were less satisfied with the quality of care they received and their interactions with doctors.

The lesson learned from HMOs not only provides evidence that Americans are likely to reject a single-payer system, but also sheds light on why the United States spends more than any other country on health care. Americans spend more because they have a higher demand for health services. This fact should come as no surprise. Americans have generous health care plans and their premiums are predominantly paid by their employer. This insulation from cost gives Americans little incentive to seek cost-effective treatment and thus routinely results in patients receiving a series of high-tech tests and treatments, which economist Arnold Kling refers to as “premium medicine”.

(via Health Care BS)

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