Prodigal Son wrote:our capitalistic ways have permeated into our health care system. It drives up prices and artificially reduces supply for a service that people cannot "shop around" for.
Not really, in fact, it is the opposite of artificial: the market drives prices. Markets are good at discovering the true value of a product. If prices are too high, that drives buyers out of the market. If prices are too low, that drives suppliers out of the market. In a free market, buyers and sellers negotiate prices to a point of equilibrium. That is not an artificial price: it is the true market value of the commodity.
The problem is that if your allow the market to set prices for health care services, you set them to a level that many people cannot afford. That's the US problem. On the other hand, if you artificially lower the price of health care services, as the Canadian government does (not really to zero, since drugs, dentists, eye exams, and a bunch of other things aren't covered, but substantially below market rates), you increase demand for the services. At the same time, you cap the amount that doctors are allowed to charge the government, which drives suppliers out of the market. The result is that everyone is equally eligible for health care, and everybody has to wait for it. Need a new hip? The wait is 18 months.
If you live in the US and you need a new hip, if you are rich you get a new hip right away and if you are poor, you don't get a new hip at all.
If you live in Canada, rich or poor, you get a new hip, but you have to wait 18 agonizing months for it, during which time your health will deteriorate further due to pain and lack of exercise. (If you are really rich, of course, you simply drive to Buffalo and get a new hip right away.)
The system in Singapore, from the little I have read, seems to blend the two approaches quite well. Medical savings accounts are compulsory, and they are subsidized for the poor, but you pay for your own care with the money in your own medical savings account, at the market price for the care you want. That allows the market to set prices and therefore to ensure adequate supply of services, while still assuring access to the poor.
It is generally true that if you are poor, you are better off in Canada than the US, but if you are middle class or rich, you are better of in the US.
Just some guy on the Internet. Heed with care.