Although a lot of Americans would be willing to switch over to a government run, single-payer health system, a lot of them want to continue access to private health insurance to add services which the government may not supply. I can certainly see why they might want that, but I can think of one overriding reason why private insurers should be banned.
If you require all Americans to be insured through the same system, then the wealthy Americans are in the same boat with everyone else. Instead of wasting energy trying to cut services from the government health system (and trying to save money for themselves), they would be forced to trying to improve the government system. And that would be a good thing.
The problem with having only one provider is that the system may become more and more bureaucratic. So what we need to do is set up a counter-measure that will fight bureaucracy.
The problem with having only one provider, though, is that the system may become more and more bureaucratic. So what we need to do is set up a counter-measure that will fight bureaucracy. How can we do that?
Set up a strong ombudsman system. First, there should be a free ombudsman system within the government system. The ombudsmen should be easy to contact and speak to on the phone, email, or in person. They should have the practical power to fix problems. And if they don’t, then there should be a fallback system. Individual patients who are not satisfied with the ombudsmen should be free to hire a private, licensed ombudsman who knows the system. And the government should pay for such services (say) once every five years. And there should be an expedited system for judges to rule on disputes between the bureaucracy and the patients. In other words, the system should be very user friendly.
This doesn’t mean that patients will prevail in all conflicts. But they will have direct and easy routes to make themselves heard and to improve the system.
Frankly, I think that such an ombudsman system should be mandatory for every sort of important government system. There should be ombudsmen available, and citizens affected by the system who do not get satisfaction should be able to hire private ombudsmen at government expense. And decisions about conflicts should be made rapidly. Why shouldn’t this be the way our government runs? Why should only the wealthy be able to get the government to run right?
Michael T. Hertz