Why not a single-payor, national, universal health-care system?
The ten largest health care companies in the U.S. had a combined profit of $18.31 billion in fiscal year 2006 (according to a www.Forbes.com report of March 29, 2007). That’s profit, not revenue, expenses, etc. And it’s in addition to bloated six- and seven-figure CEO salaries and seven- and eight-figure severance packages. The kicker is that these companies have huge marketing budgets—in other words, they are taking part of the money we pay them and using it to try to entice us pay them more!
The top ten drug companies netted a combined profit of nearly $50 billion with an industry-wide net profit margin of 20.7%—anyone in the business world will tell you a 20% earnings after taxes (EAT) rate is incredible. But they have all that research and development to pay for, right? For the top ten drug companies, their profits were 31.6% higher than their R&D costs.
How can anyone say it would be more expensive to have a single-payor system than to pay excessive salaries, stock options, golden parachutes, profit dividends, management retreats, and marketing budgets?
Traditional “competition-based” market influences do not apply to health care, because the demand is almost perfectly inelastic; i.e., the demand remains the same despite fluctuations in price. People will pay all they can muster for their health and life. Therefore, the traditional winnowing effect of competition on price gougers in the free market does not apply.
I’m disappointed that even the Democrats are still including private health companies in their “universal health care” proposals. It’s time to pull the trigger, chase away the vultures from our dying health-care system, and create a single-payor universal system.