Found this article in the New England Journal of Medicine http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1106090 It's a pretty interesting look at one real life example of what happened when going from a single payer system to a "competition based" model. Since being in school, I've come across more articles and tidbits of information and we are no where near a reasonable solution, which is no surprise to anyone. One of the better quotes I've heard is that a dollar of spending on health care is a dollar of income to somebody. This is self evident of course, but the reality is that when we talk about cost savings, cutting costs or managing costs, we are indirectly saying that we want SOMEONE to make less money. One suggestion being offered is that if people have only a limited amount of dollars to spend, insurance companies will "compete" for those dollars and this will magically make health care cheaper. The reality of course is that all it does is create a middle man who denies payment (manages costs) or denies coverage (lowers demand for service and hence, payment).
No matter what system is in place, health care is going to cost more every year. Period. New drugs, new procedures, new knowledge develops all the time and when they are deployed, they cost more money. Competition, as described above, will simply dictate that doctors and hospitals make less money while they deliver more and more complex care. Have we seen this before with competition? Of course we have. While the productivity of the American worker increased quite a bit over several decades, their wages did not. And I'm sure that most here know, despite the vast level of money that we spend, our outcomes are not really comparable to countries who spend less.
Admittedly, I am in favor of a single payer system. Not because I favor socialism or any other stupid ideology, but because after dealing with insurance companies from within health care, I feel like they are just leeches who do nothing but shuffle money around and suck out their share while doing absolutely nothing to improve the system or the lives of the insured. That said, I am also in favor of having our fat assed nation stop eating such shitty food and start taking better care of themselves. We could legitimately spend trillions of dollars less on health care if people consumed less care by attempting to be more healthy. For quite awhile, we are going to remain locked in a philosophical battle about this rather than engaged in a discussion about what is the best path to finding a solution that a majority of people in this country want. Obama care is a bad plan, but what people like Ryan are offering is simply not what people like seniors want.