The Instigator
Aagon
Pro (for)
Tied
12 Points
The Contender
Jlconservative
Con (against)
Tied
12 Points

Single-payer healthcare is the best, simplest way of providing universal healthcare.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,081 times Debate No: 1898
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (8)

 

Aagon

Pro

I've noticed a number of debates regarding this topic and they all seem rather vaguely defined. A number of them refer to a presidential candidate's plan. First, it's important to note that no current presidential candidate except, I believe, Kucinich, supports single payer healthcare- Clinton, Edwards, and Obama all have different proposals they claim would accomplish universal healthcare.

Single payer healthcare means that the government covers a wide range of medical conditions, procedures, prescription drugs, etc, for everyone. "Everyone" can vary to include legal vs undocumented, citizens vs noncitizens. If my respondent likes we can address this issue as well, which I believe should include all people residing within the US, including undocumented or illegal immigrants.

There are a number of reasons that this plan is needed. Right now, a significant portion of our population goes without healthcare. The most recent numbers I've heard have been in the range of 45-47 million people. But, this is not necessarily the most significant problem. The number one cause of bankruptcy in the US is medical- and 2/3 of the people who file for this bankruptcy HAD health insurance. This is a symptom which indicates that the insurance that many, if not most, is written to provide as little coverage as possible while still charging for insurance. People that thought they had coverage often go in with a problem and belatedly discover that their insurance will not cover it- or will have to put in weeks, months, and years of effort to make sure that they get it. The health insurance industry is a for profit industry, which means that they will do their utmost to prevent people from getting coverage.

Single-payer has a number of other advantages.
1) Under the current system, doctors seeing their patients do not make the decision- an HMO company does. Under a single-payer system, the doctor decides what is necessary. Doctors and their staff also have to spend an absurd amount of time and money interacting with the HMO to make sure that procedures or whatever are covered- this cuts into the time they have to see money.

2) Administrative costs under the current system are outrageous- generally ranging from 15-20%. This means that 15-20% of what we spend on healthcare (which is twice per capita to any other in the world) goes to offices, phones, and paperwork rather than healthcare. Medicare, on the other hand, which is a comparable system to single-payer, spends merely 2%. The argument that private industry is more efficient in this case is completely fallacious. Additionally, private insurers spend a lot of money advertising, which is again money that we the public spend on healthcare that goes to something unrelated.

3) It increases the pool of risk. Health insurance is about everyone contributing a little bit to protect the few that get hurt. The larger the contributing pool, the lower the overall costs.

4) The government gets to negotiate on behalf of everyone. 300 million people together can get a much better deal than even the bigger companies. This will be especially useful when it comes to negotiating prescription drug costs.

The US spends two times per capita on healthcare than any country in the developed world, yet our healthcare system is among the worse, if not the worst. You can see this by looking at infant mortality, life expectancy, or other statistics. I think it's time we start to get what we're paying for.
Jlconservative

Con

Jlconservative forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 1
Aagon

Pro

Well, my opponent forfeited his round. Hopefully he can come later to respond. Don't really see a point of expanding on what I've said above as I already wrote a lot.
Jlconservative

Con

I apologize for not making the cut I have been busy with school, I will most likley loose now because of it but I will try my best. Good luck Aagon

Health care in a single-payer system will be rationed by means other than price. This will have inevitable adverse effects, including:

1. Long waits and reduced quality. In Britain, over 800,000 patients are waiting for hospital care. In Canada, the average wait between a general practitioner referral and a specialty consultation has been over 17 weeks. Beyond queuing for care or services, single-payer sys�tems are often characterized by strict drug for�mularies, limited treatment options, and discrimination by age in the provision of care. Price controls, a routine feature of such sys�tems, also result in reduced drug, technology, and medical device research.

2. Funding crises. Because individuals remain insulated from the direct costs of health care, as in many third-party payment systems, health care appears to be "free." As a result, demand expands while government officials devise ways to control costs. The shortest route is by pro�viding fewer products and services through explicit and implicit rationing.

3. Beyond favoritism in the provision of care for the politically well-con�nected, single-payer health care systems often restrain costs by limiting surgeries for the eld�erly, restricting dialysis, withholding care from very premature infants, reducing the number of intensive care beds, limiting MRI availability, and restricting access to specialists.

4. Labor strikes and personnel shortages. In 2004, a health worker strike in British Columbia, Canada, resulted in the cancellation of 5,300 sur�geries and numerous MRI examinations, CT scans, and lab tests. Canada also has a shortage of physicians, and the recruitment and retention of doctors in Britain has become a chronic problem.

5. Outdated facilities and medical equipment. Advances in medical technology are often seen in terms of their costs rather than their benefits, and investment is slower. For example, an esti�mated 60 percent of radiological equipment in Canada is technically outdated.

6.Politicization and lost liberty. Patient auton�omy is curtailed in favor of the judgment of an elite few, who dictate what health care needs and desires ought to be while imposing social controls over activities deemed undesirable or at odds with an expanding definition of "public health." Government officials would claim a compelling interest in many areas now consid�ered personal.

Conclusion:
Conclusion. The very real problems of Amer�ica's health care system, including the problem of uninsurance, can be addressed through innova�tive market-based solutions. While critics of the market approach are free to claim that a future health care system based on free and voluntary exchange would have pernicious rather than pos�itive effects, the evidence-based approach to health policy finds little to support the promised superiority of national health insurance. In the end, the socialist vision of medicine will achieve Orwellian results: The promise of health care cov�erage becomes health rationing, access to univer�sal coverage means delays in access to care, official fairness yields to favoritism by officials, freedom of choice becomes coerced conformity, and dem�ocratic deliberation is replaced by bureaucratic decision-making.
Debate Round No. 2
Aagon

Pro

Thanks for the response. You introduced some interesting arguments, not all of which I have heard before.

1. Wait lines for healthcare. This argument seems to me extremely pernicious. These wait lines are a result of increased demand stemming from more people getting treated rather than an inherent flaw in single-payer healthcare. Essentially, this is arguing that we shouldn't have universal health care for people because it will make it more inconvenient for those that already have it. The only viable comparison would be looking at how long people have to wait for treatment for Medicare. There is no physical reason for single payer healthcare to cause longer lines than any other form of universal healthcare- all the doctor has to do is report that more treatment is needed and they will be signed up for it.

Just because single-payer systems often occur in a certain way does not mean that they will- and the current private healthcare has much more limited options and discrimination based on age, health, etc. In the single-payer I am advocating for, doctors have control over the healthcare their patients receive and ALL people are included.

Drug and health companies are currently able to charge whatever they want because people are going to pay for the treatment they need. They have huge profit margins even beyond research and development. Additionally, universities are the prime arena for research in this country and they will continue to operate unaffected in most ways.

2. Funding crises- it's important to note that the US currently pays well over twice per capita of comparable countries on healthcare. As I mentioned before, the new system will be much more efficient, partly because of administrative costs. Additionally, we will save money because many more people will go to see a primary care doctor on a regular basis, which is much cheaper than going to see a specialist. Currently, many many Americans go to the doctor only after a problem has developed- this leads to not only unnecessary deaths, but unnecessary costs. Demand will expand, but because of the costs of the current system it is likely that much of it can be absorbed by the money we will be saving. This is, of course, theoretical.

3. favoritism/restrictions- This argument seems off to me. In the most common single-payer healthcare schemes currently discussed, the doctor makes the decisions and people have access to the care they need without needing a government official to sign off on it. Hence, there seems little opportunity for political favoritism. Additionally, in this country politically well-connected usually means rich and under any private insurance scheme, the rich would benefit disproportionately- so even if your argument is true, it is still better than what would otherwise be the case. As far as the elderly, I cannot see that situation developing here. Once the country and politicians have accepted that everyone should have healthcare insured by the government, the politically powerful and aware AARP would prevent anything of this sort from happening.

4. Labor strikes and personnel shortages. Don't really understand your point with labor strikes. That could have occurred without being under a single-payer healthcare system and thus seems to be irrelevant to this discussion. As far as personnel shortages, that seems more a problem of a universal healthcare system rather than against single-payer; if everyone's insured demand goes up. Either that, or there's the simple problem of not paying doctor's enough. Under the current system, this is already happening with doctors' pay falling under HMOs.

5. The government need not control what is purchased by doctor's or hospitals. Just as in the current system, each would decide what the most efficient use of their funds is and make the purchases they need. As long as funding is kept the same (or even increased as currently numerous hospitals are closing in the face of rising costs), then there is no reason to see upgrades continue. Each hospital and doctor will still be competing to get their patients.

6.Politicization and lost liberty. That sounds like a litany against the current system where faceless operatives for insurance companies make decisions without seeing the patient and get bonuses based on how many people they refuse care for. Under the system most advocates visualize the doctors have control over care, not government officials.

One of your overriding themes is government official interference in decision-making. On the contrary, one of the most appealing facets of a single-payer healthcare system is that choice returns to the doctors and patients rather than having the decision made by a third party. Obviously, some oversight will take place, but this would be in overall evaluations rather than interference in individual cases, and hopefully done by peers rather than government agents.

Healthcare is a right, and something that people are willing to pay whatever they need to get. Therefore, the typical market approach CANNOT succeed. In an open market there are ALWAYS losers- people that cannot afford the product as is proven by the vast number of Americans with no insurance or insurance that realistically provides little to no coverage. It is a moral obligation to avoid the situation where people are forced to choose between a healthy life and living saddled with debt that they can never pay back.

If you would like to continued this conversation in another debate, I'd be happy to.
Jlconservative

Con

Jlconservative forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by mindjob 9 years ago
mindjob
Good job, pro. I've got a debate going about single-payer as well if you'd like to check it out.

http://www.debate.org...
Posted by Undermining-Chaos 9 years ago
Undermining-Chaos
As a Canadian citizen, I know the flaws in the Canadian health care system, but single payer health care is not to blame for our lack of doctors and nurses, therefore rendering that argument null.

I'd also like to say that this system works, despite the long waits. We are, inevitably, taking care of more of our people. Not just those who can afford it.
Posted by Jlconservative 9 years ago
Jlconservative
Aagon I would be happy to I however am to tired to continue tonight, I am certain I will have some rebutle strength tmrw goodnight my friend.
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Vote Placed by Alex391 9 years ago
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