In the United States, there are multiple payers throughout the US healthcare system. Close to nine out of 10 citizens are covered by some form of health insurance. This includes a mixture of both public or government run programs and private insurance companies.
I just completed a fascinating book called America’s Bitter Pill by Stephen Brill. Although most people are not in favor of a pure single payer program, nearly everyone agrees that something needs to be done to control the ongoing and accelerating healthcare inflation.
In his book, he explores what happened with regards to crucial decisions made involving the drafting and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare coverage was extended to millions of more Americans. But in the end, it turned out to be a windfall for many insurance companies, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, and did little to rain in the out of control costs.
He wrote that on one day he received 36 different pieces of paper from the same insurance company on the same day. Would taking the control of charges out of the hands of private insurance companies and putting them in the hands of a single payer simply things? No one can say for sure. I do know that things need to be simplified and efficiencies have be put in place.
Over the years, a larger percentage of the total healthcare dollar spent is being directed towards administration. Millions of administrators, insurance agents and executives never put their hands on a patient. This trend needs to reverse