NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Universal Health Care Argument Just Won't Die

August 15, 2003

While sound ideas such as medical savings accounts are routinely dismissed, universal health care is a poor idea that just won't die, says Investor's Business Daily.

The Physicians for a National Health Program published a statement in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) advocating a single-payer national health system similar to Canada's.

The shortcomings of a national health, however, have been explained by American Medical Association President Donald Palmisano:

  • Long waits for health care services.
  • A slowness to adopt new technologies and maintain facilities.
  • Development of a large bureaucracy that can cause a decline in the authority of patients and their physicians over clinical decision-making.

Such a simple and reasoned argument is lost on the doctors -- all 7,782 of them, or less than 1 percent of the more than 800,000 U.S. physicians -- who are calling for a state-run program, says IBD.

In Canada, meanwhile, waits for health care are growing longer and patients complain loudly about quality.

Source: Editorial, "Chronic Disorder," Investor's Business Daily, August 15, 2003; Rashi Fein, "Universal Health Insurance -- Let the Debate Resume," Journal of the American Medical Association, August 13, 2003.

For JAMA text (subscription required)


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