The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Single Payer Health Care makes most economic sense

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/1/2012 Category: Health
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,406 times Debate No: 23994
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




we spend more per capita, and get less health care results back... than any other country in the world:
-we spend 17% of our GDP on healthcare, while single payer countries spend 10%. that 7% represents a lot of money, a trillion dollars.
-the savings come from a decrease in administrative costs: insurance companies are a middleman that serves no real purpose other than spending 30% of revenue on administrative costs and profit, costs that could be just as easily streamlined by the government down to less than 5% or so. (medicare for example requires 3% for administration).
-our GDP is 14 trillion, our national debt is close to there. 1 trillion dollars a year, enough to boost our economy significantly, or eliminate our debt if we wanted (political football as to how that would be done), or at the end of the day simply keep more money our pocket.
-if the government did it right (big if, granted), it would be a self contained system (no taxes other than from those who want to join), we would not coerce people to join, and/or they could utilize 'supplemental insurance' in addition to the government's system and get more options. they wouldn't have to wait in lines then, which aren't that long to begin with. (two weeks max for most standard procedures, short for emergencies etc, and with many insurance companies worse than many single payer systems... and most citizens in single payer countries do not envy us).
-insurance companies could even still exist (they may need to retain the current regulations to cover some preexisting conditions by law, so as to prevent them from skimming off a bunch of healthy people from government plans, to ensure the pool is sufficient to cover everyone in it to a reasonable extent--the most difficult aspect of allowing insurance companies to still exist, the government's power here and the overall give and take here, is huge).
-there could be limits on the amount of care which is essentially what insurance companies already do and people understand as a necessity (eg, a 200k policy) (there would be no need for 'death panels'). the copays, premiums (or taxes), carrots and sticks, could be done so as to ensure people don't abuse the system (as they do with so many insurance plans already)

-"Why I (an economically right leaning libertarian) Prefer French Health Care" (not directly on point, but interesting and relevant, with decent commentary following)

full article:

"For a dozen years now I've led a dual life, spending more than 90 percent of my time and money in the U.S. while receiving 90 percent of my health care in my wife's native France. On a personal level the comparison is no contest: I'll take the French experience any day. ObamaCare opponents often warn that a new system will lead to long waiting times, mountains of paperwork, and less choice among doctors. Yet on all three of those counts the French system is significantly better, not worse, than what the U.S. has now"


1. GDP expenditures

My opponents analysis (comparing countries) actually falls under a statistical problem. This is called a cross sectional data set, and these fall into problems as economists call endogenity. This arises when you compare X to Y, and claim the differences is due to the problem (in this case US healthcare). A good example of this is the DPIC data on states with lower crime have no death penalty. But this ignores histories, previous crime rates, and other variables which include arrest rates and conviction rates. So my opponent claiming to compare the US to say France falls under this endognity problem. I can list the factors.

First, this ignores the amount of people on government healthcare. 27.8% of the population, in America, relies on some sort of public insurance plan. Public (government) spending accounts for 56% of expenditures. [1] Now this does much to prove my case, as this shows government plans (Single payer is government) are more expensive then private plans. So the GDP argument has endogenity as it forgets to account for government failures.

A second thing it forgets is health habits. As worse habits means more expenditures. If the US has worse habits, we can blame the habits not the HC for the problem. Studies show less then 2% of Americans meet the recommended heart healthy steps to prevent heart attacks as well as other heart problems. [2] 35.7% of Americans are obese. [3] In contrast 11% of french people are obese. [4] More unhealthy habits lead to more need for HC. More need for HC means more healthcare costs, especially for the public sector. So we can blame habits, not our system, for the problem.

So all of her GDP arguments fail. We can blame the public sector and the unhealthy American habits for the problem.

2. Lower administrative costs?

Much of the data have seen for this comes from the bias PNHP. But I would like to note this is highly illogical. This is claiming the government can save money, which has never happened. SS is almost bankrupt. Medicare is almost bankrupt. So is medicaid. Government agencies DO NOT SAVE money, their benefits are often overused, abused, and their leaders are often inefficient. Overuse is the reason for HC cost problems, and single payer will not account for that. Although single payer is not free, it gives that illusion. If you thought a service was free, and you thought you might need it, you would obviously ask for it. Single payer would again lead to overuse of services, and lead to increased costs. [5]

And as stated, current government healthcare is about 30% of the population but is 56% of the costs. This actually leads me to believe the government is inefficient and actually leads to higher costs, as current government HC is more expensive.

If current government care leads to increased costs, it is illogical to say more government will clean it up. If I cut myself with paper sure it would hurt, and if I thought cutting it with cardboard would fix it, it would seem crazy. It may distract me from my former problem, but not help anything and would make it hurt worse.

3. Taxes

My opponents arguments here are unrealistic. The government would tax everyone, especially the wealthy. In current medicaid most of the people on that plan do not pay taxes, therefore people like me pay for their health services. Since the 1918 income tax law we have used a progressive tax. [6]

If we assume this is an optional system, the poorest people will likely opt for it as they cannot always afford private insurance. Meaning only the poorest people would opt for the service. Under our current taxation plan all or most of these people that for the system would NOT PAY TAXES. So the government would be forced to pay for the program somehow, and therefore would raise taxes on the middle classes or the upper class to accommodate for the people that opt for the system. In other words my opponents idea is unrealistic and impossible. And, even if you are not on the system, you would still pay for it.

Also this also ignores what is happening in other countries. Even if we assume we can not income tax the people who opt out of the system, taxes would still raise to them. There is a 20-28% payroll tax in France, so all of their checks are taxed meaning everyone feels this pinch.[7] The UK has a 20% gas tax, everyone feels that pinch, and Canada also has a high gas tax. [8] So even if we have an opt out income tax, everyone, EVERYONE would feel the increases in payroll and gas taxes.

So to conclude this refutation:
a) impossible
b) even if it occurs everyone will feel the tax in other areas

4. Insurance companies

Everyone agrees if we switched to SP private companies would still exist, but would be weaker. In the US abut 70% of us use private insurance. In Canada, however, the number is only 27%.[9] So based on this it is likely the insurance companies would shrink and have little influence in the system relative to before. My opponent then states that it would lower the amount of people denied care, but this argument is a moot as obamacare is already doing that. [10] Even if the supreme court strikes this down, they will likely only be able to hit the mandate not the law, this can have its own fremarket solutions. Many of which include competition to decrease costs.

I do not understand my opponents last argument, which claims if private insurance exists there would be no death panels. As I showed Canada has private insurance, and they still have death panels. They recently voted to cut babies life support. [11] Just because private insurance exists does not mean death panels would wither away, private insurance as shown would shrink and cease to have influence, so this point is a moot.


C1: Private cures

Singapore is the best example, they are much healthier then Americans and their spending on HC is relativity low. Lower then most SP countries. "What's the reason for Singapore's success? It's not government spending. The state, using taxes, funds only about one-fourth of Singapore's total health costs. Individuals and their employers pay for the rest. In fact, the latest figures show that Singapore's government spends only $381 (all dollars in this article are U.S.) per capita on health—or one-seventh what the U.S. government spends."[12]

Meaning the government is not the spender, the private insurance is. Meaning this system is superior to he SP systems, therefore wins the resolution.

C2: SP increases taxes

As stated I have proven anything the government touches it goes bankrupt. The increased cost means to compensate, they would be forced to increase taxes, this can easily be shown with France. In America employers pay a 7.5% payroll tax. [13] In France the system sucks 40% of revenue and they need a 20% payroll tax. [14]

Meaning it increases taxation cost, lower payroll means less money being used in stocks etc. Meaning a worse economy, and makes no economic sense.


My opponents stories are nothing. Look at these.

"I wouldn't like to see Americans make the same mistake Canadians have made… Patients in Canada are treated like Third World citizens. Our health-care system is like Cuba or North Korea."
- Lindsay McCreith (Brain tumor patient, Canada)[15]


All of my opponents arguments lie on poor logic, are factually incorrect, or lie on faulty cross sectional data. I have shown SP to be on balance bad for an economy, and the Singaporean system to be better. Also by rebuttals even show the current system to be more cost effective. VOTE CON.

Debate Round No. 1


dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.


My opponents analysis was refuted

Vote con
Debate Round No. 2


Even that wikipedia article, con's first link, cites that the insurance companies spend 30 some percent on administrative costs and profit. that's where the savings come in. and, as i cited, medicare for example spends on 3% on administrative costs. (we wouldn't have to do a "medicare for all" either, we could also do as many european systems do and have a tightly regulated insurance market with health care provided by all)
con's issue is that he falls into not being able to rise about stereotypical thinking... he thinks that the government can never do anything more efficient than the private sector.... when this has been shown many times here to be untrue.

also, even that wikipedia article shows that health care is 17% GDP here while it's lower in other countries. con wants us to assume that the US would be different just because we're fat and unhealthy as a nation. he found one small factor that might make it slightly higher costing in the US, and expects us to believe that accounts for 7% GDP difference and a trillion dollars. that is poor judgement on con's part.
also, if the US is so much more efficient in cost, and we have probably at least a third of people uninsured... why isn't the GDP percentage spent lower than european countries? we expects us to believe that's also because we're fat and unhealthy, too? poor judgment, no contest.

the reason the government spends too much on health care costs, such as the cited 56% total costs for uninsured, is because they participate in the problem, states often use private insurance companies to provide their care. Not all government health expenditures are medicare. also, ER visits for basic care drives up costs that otherwise would not occur with a public plan. maybe we should do as i suggested a possiblity, and use a tightly regulated insurance industry as europe does, if the way it's done now isn't efficient enough with the government. i'm sure we could find other reasons it costs that much too.

at the end of the day i've shown where the savings come in, admin and profit cutting 31% of costs via cutting out the insurance middle man, and our GDP differences with other countries.
con's whole argument is basically that we're fat and unhealthy as a country, and all these other countries are so much better... illogical speculation, bad judgment, and with no studies to back up this claim. (showing that there are a few more obese people in france doesn't prove anything. he has to show how it extends to higher costs, so high that it'd amount to almost twice the costs of other countries ie 17% v 10%, a trillion dollars a year) given this is the essence of his argument, his argument fails.


1. Administraitive costs

The medicare low administrative cost argunment is a myth, as I explained last round. The myth is Medicare spends 3% on administrative costs, and that private insurance costs 15% - 20% administrative costs. Now these numbers are misleading, here's why:

a) Medicare is partially administered by other agencies

Firstly, other nanny state policies help administer medicare benefits. IRS and many other agencies help with their expences, something private insurers to not have, this already gives medicare a monetary advantage. And:
"Private insurers obviously don't have this kind of outside or off-budget help. Medicare's administration is also tax-exempt, whereas insurers must pay state excise taxes on the premiums they charge; the tax is counted as an administrative cost."[1]

As taxes are a huge budget impact, likely 10%, this already means private insurance already has 5% administrative costs. Not much of a difference, and if medicare was taxed they would have a 13% administrative cost on that alone.

b) The faulty math

The way the administrative costs are calculated are, in itself, faulty and give the 3% illusion. Ex: two patients cost 30$ to manage. The first requires 100$ in medical help, the other needs 1000$. The first has a 30% administrrative cost the other 3%, but this does not mean the first is less efficient. Interesingly enough, administrativley they cost the same, but the way it is calculated it benefits medicares 3% case.

Using more accurate numbers, medicare per capita (per person) actually has higher administrative costs. Why? medicare costs more, so even though it has a lower percentage it actually lower the actual cost is higher. This graph explains it:

Medicare costs more administrativley per patient then private insurance. How can this be it has a lower cost? Easy: 6% of 380 is more then 11% of 200. [1]

---> In other words, a) makes the two insurances have virtually the same costs, and b) makes it show the faulty math means medicare actually has higher administrative costs.

2. Comparisons US to europe

Again her argunment is actually ignoring my analysis (or much of it). I proved that government HC was more costly this round and last round, then showed much of america actually relies on these plans. I therefore showed the reason we had high cost was due to government inneficiencies, NOT the system itself, therefore my opponents argunment is a moot.

And then she criticises, very weakly, the fat comparison. I significantly showed americans where at risk of Obesity, Diabetese, and heart problems. And as stated we have an unlealthy diet. Lets say it again. Our unhealthy lifestyle leads to a high weight. [2] Higher weights = joint problems, and all the other seseises I mentioned. Good nutrition if vital to society. As America here lacks, we will have higher by large margins in almost all sickness. The increased need for care (and the high costs) we witness today are based on overusage of the healthcare system (my opponent dropped that analysis), and a single payer system will increase the amount of people using the system as it gives a "free" illusion.

My opponent then states we have high uninsured and thats the reason it is costly, with no logical analysis or source this is just an opinion argunment. And the question is why they spend less, as stated the unhealthy lifestyle we have make it impossible to spend less, also note (as stated) our population is the third highest in the world, a lot of unhealthy feinds will mean we will clog up the hospitals and in turn raise costs. My opponent has failed to refute the reason costs are high are due to overusage, and I have proven all it does is increase it. Also my opponent states the reason the state has high costs is due to uninsured, this is contrary to the facts. The ER and government insurance are seperate entities. Meaning the 56% number is still valid, showing it costs more, and uninsured as a seperate entity hold their own position in ER costs. Further, my opponent is making it seem this is a US vs. Europe debate, but the resolution states single payer is the best. So all I have to do is use ANY HC system in the world that is not SP. So only arguing against the US hurts her case as she has dropped my singapore analysis.

--> Pro dropped my whole case.

I proved singapore was better, meaning I have fufilled my BOP. Even if all of my logic above seems like sh!t, my singapore analysis is untouched and shows private insurance trumps governmental insurance. I have shown here that another system trumps single payer, meaning another system > single payer. Single payer is now not the most sensible. And I even proved the US was better. My opponent drops this

I then proves SP increased taxes therefore would create sloth as their earnings are not being taken away, lowering productivity. Not good for an economy. Also dropped.

-> As he dropped my case 100% of it stands, my opponents weak case 0% left.

---> My opponent even dropped my rebuttals, most of them.

He dropped (4), I proved the existance of private insurance would be very little and the death panels would exist.

She dropped (3), where I showed it would increase taxes.

She dropped the last analysis in (2) where I showed it is illogical to say a problem would get better by adding more of what started it. If oil is onfire, adding more oil is not the answer.

-----------------> My case 100% stands, 75% of my rebuttals where dropped, therefore I win both points off the bat. And her third round preformance was poor and therefore I won 100% of both sides.

=Voting issues=

args - She dropped almost all of my rebuttals and all of my case, and her defense of argunments was poor. I win on both accounts.

Sources - Me, I used the least bias sources, using pnhp is a highly biassed source. I should win here too. I also used many government sources.

Conduct - Me for the FF

Spelling and grammar - I have poor spelling, but so does my opponent. Spelling is tied. But grammar I win as my opponent never capitalized letters at the beginning of a paragraph or at the beginning of a sentence. I win this point.

7/0 to con.




Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Contra 4 years ago
Antigovernment rhetoric may be good politics but it is bad policies. Single Payer health care would lead to tax changes, but businesses/ individuals would save an average of $800+ per capita in a SP system. And that isn't even counting the reduced health care inflation.
Posted by Contra 4 years ago
I fully agree PRO.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by CiRrK 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conducts for FF, and args for Singapore analysis. Pretty straightforward.
Vote Placed by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit