AUGUST 9, 2012 7:12PM

Health Care Costs: Sabotaging Productivity Bit by Bit

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NEWS REPORTS: Mitt Romney praises Israeli health-care system, i.e., "national health care in which all citizens are part of HMOs paid for by the government as a single-payer" — so I guess the issue is again on the table.


When people calculate the costs of the USA's not having a rational, efficient, National Health System (sic), they figure in the costs of redundant paperwork from multiple insuring companies and reporting system. Fine, but they need to count also the cost to the economy of lost productivity, wasted time, and increased anxiety even for healthy Americans dealing with our current system.

A lot of Americans are neither so rich nor so poor nor so elegantly connected to the economy to avoid paying taxes — and filling out IRS income tax forms as part of the cost for the privilege, so to speak, of paying those taxes. Why add to that additional paperwork for Medicare (etc.) and private insurers?

One of the traditional arguments against a single-payer NHS or similar system is that it will enmesh delivery of health-care in bureaucracy. Well, we're already pathologically enmeshed, and unifying and rationalizing the system looks like one way, and the only effective way, out of the current bureaucratic mess.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young notwishstanding, we cannot "change the world, / Re-arrange the world"; but we can start working to seriously simplify health-care delivery, paying for health-care delivery, and the tax system that damn well should cover most of health-care delivery. 

"Simplify, simplify, simplify!" used to be a motto for a kind of philosophical romanticism; nowadays it's an injunction for economic survival. 

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the only hope for the usa is immediate invasion and long time occupation by canada. but canada has better sense.

invasion by mexico is more likely, and they are well-supplied with american guns, but on balance they probably don't like gringos enough to bring sanity to el diablo del norte.