Some people, especially young and healthy people, may choose not to buy health insurance even when it is cheaper. Contrary to popular belief, such people do not cause everyone else to pay much higher premiums. Forcing them to get insurance would, on the other hand, lead to a worse health-care system for everyone because it would necessitate so much more government intervention.
[I]nsurance companies are regulated and are required to maintain a certain reserve balances to protect policyholders in the event of a financial catastrophe. The only alternative to private health insurance would be some type of government-financed and -managed program. Government costs might be just as high or higher.
Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America. Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.
Once we've got a comprehensive national health care plan, what are the government's incentives? I think they're bad, for the same reason the TSA is bad. I'm afraid that instead of Security Theater, we'll get Health Care Theater, where the government goes to elaborate lengths to convince us that we're getting the best possible health care, without actually providing it. ... Agencies like Britain's NICE are a case in point. As long as people don't know that there are cancer treatments they're not getting, they're happy. Once they find out, satisfaction plunges. But the reason that people in Britain know about things like herceptin for early stage breast cancer is a robust private market in the US that experiments with this sort of thing.
Universal health care may involve an increase in taxes on the higher income brackets, and even though many solutions (e.g. a single payer system) would offset these taxes by reduced premiums and out-of-pocket spending, people still bristle at the idea of being taxed. Even if net income stays the same in a universal health care system, a tax may feel more oppressive than paying premiums or paying for health care out-of-pocket.
One of the biggest pros for a universal health care system is that working models exist. Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Taiwan all have successful government-run insurance or health care for all lawful residents. While none of those places are as populated as the United States, they serve as effective models for a universal health care system and how it can work for an entire nation.
Compared with Canadians [who have universal health coverage], US residents are one third less likely to have a regular medical doctor, one fourth more likely to have unmet health care needs, and more than twice as likely to forgo needed medicines. Problems accessing medical care are particularly dire for the US uninsured. When they do receive medical care, US residents are more likely than Canadians to rate their satisfaction at the extremes (high and low) of the satisfaction scale.
In 2005, despite more than one in seven dollars in the American economy being spent in the health care sector, 15.3 percent of the population — nearly 45 million people — remained uninsured (US Census Bureau 2009b), with many millions of others underinsured. Yet because of Medicare very few seniors face the prospect of being uninsured. In fact, seniors have by far the lowest incidence of uninsurance of any age group in the United States. In 2010, just 2 percent of Americans age sixty-five and over were uninsured. ... Despite this "success," Medicare did not become a model for a national health insurance scheme.
Universal coverage of family physician and hospital services ameliorate the socioeconomic differences in mortality. However, specialist services are underused in lower socioeconomic groups, bearing the potential to widen the socioeconomic gap in health.
[M]andating that insurers take all comers without regard to pre-existing conditions, and charge everyone roughly the same rate—in other words, not saying, "We'll insure you even though you had cancer, but your premiums will be $20,000 a month" — will destroy the insurance industry if it's not paired with something like the individual mandate that brings everyone into the risk pool. If you were allowed to wait until you're on the way to the hospital to apply for health insurance, and they had to take you, insurance companies would go out of business.
The cost of healthcare services is expected to rise 7.5 percent in 2013, more than three times the projected rates for inflation and economic growth... The projected growth rate of 7.5 percent for overall healthcare costs contrasts with expectations for growth of 2.4 percent in gross domestic product and a 2.0 percent rise in consumer prices during 2013, according to the latest Reuters economic survey.