Single payer, as practiced in Denmark and other capitalist democracies in Western Europe and Asia, provides an infrastructure that delivers high marks for quality of care, clinical outcomes, costs and access to care—areas where the U.S. continually underperforms by comparison. So, it is no surprise that the rollout and effective use of information technology has been easier in these single-payer environments.
Simplicity, sense of fairness put Danes ahead in IT
Why? For the same reason they have been able to provide quality care for all, at costs that are in line with their goals for financial stability and real economic growth—simplicity (and a sense of fairness).
1. They do not have thousands of widget-producing private companies, that are profit/earnings-per-share driven, accountable for providing healthcare to their employees.
2. They do not have hundreds of private companies, that are also profit/earnings-per-share driven, selling insurance against the need for healthcare services to thousands of companies and millions of individuals.
3. They do not have a hundred different prices for the same medical and surgical procedures, pharmaceutical medications, inpatient stays, etc.
4. They do not have a hundred different ways of determining eligibility for specific healthcare services.
5. They have patients, providers and one payer—simplistic I know, but not in comparison to the U.S. healthcare system.
Single-payer countries have also been sensible enough to keep their tax structure at a level that can fund their healthcare-for-all system. They, unlike the U.S., realize you cannot have it all and tax cuts too. (And having it all with huge deficits will not work either—it is a time bomb, as our Republican leaders like to say).
Finally, this excerpt, “as the Commonwealth Fund's own analyses of healthcare reforms have generally ignored single payer as a 'politically viable' option,” sounds the death knell for a single-payer system in today's U.S. political climate.
Of course, the phrase political climate intimates a conventional viewpoint, subject to change and possibly compromise. Unfortunately, the U.S. does not have a political climate; we have intractable political gridlock at the federal level.
Compromise is a 10-letter word, not to be mentioned in public, and will possibly be removed from the dictionary (in Washington, anyway).
Bob TancrediPerformance analyticsBusiness developerMcKesson, Corp.Hadley, Mass.
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