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Journal Journal: Social vs. Private health care

With all the talk about the new movie 'Sicko' and social vs. private health care I was seeing a lot of arguments on both sides. Now (possibly sad to say), I'd never really given much thought to the issue. I'm very well off financially and very healthy so have never really had cause to think about it. However, with all the contradictory information about this topic I decided to do a little research and here is what I found.

Just to toss some real numbers into the random unsubstantiated thoughts, here is a sample. France (who many consider the best health care in the world and is a socialist system) spends 9.8% of GDP on health care. Their GDP is 2.149 trillion which puts their total health care cost at 210.6 billion. Their population is 63.7 million which puts their per capita health care costs at $3,305. The US population is 301 million, so if we use the same per capita cost the total cost is 995 billion. Now I got REALLY tired trying to find the total amount of current US government spending on health care but I did find that JUST federal (no state spending included) on JUST Medicare and Medicaid is just over 600 billion. So add in all other government spending on health care (if you can find it) would probably already be close, but even assuming just federal Medicare & Medicate is the sum total of all spent (it isn't) we aren't all that far off. I mean what is the difference? It's about what we'd spend in a couple years in Iraq. As a man smarter than me once said, if you can find the money to kill people you can find the money to cure people.

Another common misconception is that having the government involved would cause too much of a bureaucracy. It may be counter-intuitive, but socialized systems have less bureaucracy. Doctors don't need to call some government agent to get approval for a procedure (like you have to do with insurance companies). If a doctor decides a procedure is needed, it gets done. Social health care just removes a VERY inefficient (and in some cases criminal) middle-man that exists between the patient and the doctor in the private health care system. The numbers I've been able to find show Medicare and Medicaid overhead is around 1-4% while private insurance companies have an overhead of 25-40%.

The last main issue I've seen raised is waits for medical procedures would increase. First and most importantly of all I have never seen any evidence that this is true for emergency required procedures. However, it is an issue with elective procedures. However, think about the "why". The only reason for example you'd have to wait longer for a have a procedure is if there are many more of those procedures being done. This could very well happen, but again "why"? It's because anyone who needs such a procedure would have access to it. Currently, many are denied procedures because of lack of insurance or the insurance company refuses to pay. Having the lower class and unfortunate in society be denied procedures so the rich or lucky can get theirs faster isn't something I would be proud of!

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