The existential dread of the health insurance industry

This is worth reading:
"in 1999, Americans spent $1,059 per capita on [health insurance] administration compared with only $307 spent in Canada."

"about 85 percent of this excess administrative overhead can be attributed to the highly complex private health insurance system in the United States."
Of course, we already know that the US spends two to three times more per capita on healthcare than the other rich countries - but unlike them, it does not cover everyone and health outcomes and customer satisfaction are lower.

In other words, the government is a much more efficient provider of health insurance. So it's no surprise that the insurance companies are bringing all their power to bear against the possibility of a public health insurance option. In essence, the government would offer a Medicare account to anyone in the country who wanted to join. As long as the option weren't hamstrung from the start by constraints imposed by the insurance industry's shills in Congress, and as long as the playing field were leveled with a provision that all insurance companies must accept anyone regardless of preexisting conditions, the government would over time eliminate most or all competitors because it is a more efficient provider. In light of the bizarre resistance to socialized medicine in this country, such a long drawn-out demonstration of the merits of single-payer healthcare may be the only way to win the health system we need.

But the insurance industry understands that on a level playing field with the government, it cannot survive. So we have to expect a bitter fight against this essential reform, and we have to do whatever we can to win it. Any health reform bill that does not include a public insurance option - and only one free of insurance industry poison pills - is not worthy of the name.

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