I just want to add a few thoughts…this has been an interesting discussion!
Non profit hospitals aren’t about not making a profit. They just don’t have shareholders wanting to benefit from the profits. You will notice that non profit hospitals in successful areas use the profits to reinvest in more facilities and equipment. Often they build stand alone ER’s or day clinics on the wealthier sides of town. One thing they never do is lower their prices!
On the government vs. private insurance: Private insurance is in the business to make money. The CEO may have a heart of gold but his/her business model is to produce returns on investments. Governments have to regulate the insurance market otherwise they would cherry pick their customers so that their profits would be outrageous…as has happened in the past. One of the issues with the ACA was not only capping profit but requiring a basic level of coverage. Many people lost their old plans under the ACA because the coverage was terrible. Yes, the plans were more affordable until you reached some low limit or acquired a condition that wasn’t covered and often, even if covered, they were quickly dropped if they became an expensive patient.
Government coverage is not profit motivated and we elect our government so there is always some accountability. Governments move much slower than industry, however, so fixing issues that arise is a much more slow and conservative process. We don’t have to copy any other countries health care plans. We can create exactly the type of plans we can agree to. So, we could have a base level plan covering basic services, a catastrophic plan for excessive cost type issues, keep our physicians out of the system or in the system, oversight for abuses and anything else we, the people, determine is in our best interests…except profiting from illness and disease.
Any major change to our current system will be very disruptive to some industries but we must do something. Our current mishmash of private vs. public, profit vs. non profit, business provided vs. personal provided is unsustainable and can border on cruel to some of our citizens.
Private charities can not provide healthcare for all the citizens. It would be nice but it is far beyond their ability. All they can do is help a bit and try to fill in the cracks in our current system. Keeping discrimination out of certain charities is also an issue. Catholic charities are pretty good at being inclusive but even they draw lines which exclude some. A government plan would assure the most fairness, even if not perfectly.
Change will be extremely hard no matter what path we choose. There is too much money to be made on sick, desperate people. At some point we have to decide as a nation whether healthcare is a right or a privilege. It won’t be fun and the more everyone feels the pain of change, the more likely it’s a better solution. IMHO!