Arguments against nationalised health

Two recently-published books advocate free-market solutions to the rising costs of health care: "Miracle Cure: How to Solve America’s Health Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn't the Answer," by Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute; and "Lives at Risk: Single-Payer National Health Care Insurance Around the World," by John Goodman, president of the National Centre for Policy Analysis, and NCPA senior fellows Gerald Musgrave and Devon Herrick.

Both books offer damning evidence on how universal health care systems have failed, says David Gratzer of the Manhattan Institute:

  • More than one million Canadians cannot find a family doctor, says Pipes.
  • Only five percent of surgery patients in the United States must wait 4 months or more for their procedure, compared to 36 percent in Britain, says Goodman.
  • In an international comparison of mortality rates, Goodman notes that while the United States has the highest incidence of prostrate cancer, it has the lowest incidence of deaths.
  • Both authors note that American consumers directly pay little for health care – about 14 cents for every dollar spent – so key decisions are left up to third-party payers instead of patients.

    Pipes argues for more deregulation of the health care industry, allowing companies to team up and purchase insurance through association health plans, and allowing the purchase of out-of-state insurance to increase competition and innovation.

    Goodman advocates eliminating current health care subsidies and replacing them with vouchers for the uninsured so they can purchase their own coverage.

    Furthermore, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) created by the Medicare Modernisation Act last year allow consumers to contribute to a savings account, which can be used to cover small health care expenses.

    President Bush and Republicans should make health care reforms a priority for the second term, says Gratzer.

    Source: David Gratzer, A Prescription for Health, National Review Online, December 21, 2004; Sally Pipes, Miracle Cure: How to Solve America's Health-Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn't the Answer, Pacific Research Institute, September 2004; and John C. Goodman, et al., Lives at Risk, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, July 1, 2004.

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    For more on Health Insurance reform

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 04 January 2005
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