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Hidden Costs of Nationalized Health Insurance

This paper will limit discussion to only three major areas of concern: loss of health decision choices and lack of privacy, a decline in the quality of health care and the creation of new inequalities. Proponents of nationalized health insurance focus predominately on the issue of monetary savings. They claim that the cost of consumer products is reduced when health insurance is nationalized because savings made by employers who are no longer liable for their employee’s health insurance are passed on to consumers. In turn, this lowering of the cost of products ensures more local jobs for employees because companies are more able to compete in global trade. Supporters of nationalized health insurance also maintain that employees are more mobile because they are more confident and thus more able to change employers if they are no longer happy with one employer. they are also less hesitant in setting up their own business or company without the anxiety of losing their health insurance. In reality, however, while these arguments may be acceptable in terms of monetary savings and mobility, other costs are heavier. Canada and Britain both have nationalized health insurance but with differences. Britain employs a ‘single-payer system’ and people are unable to avoid the system and use private insurers. The government covers all health care costs, with money coming from tax incomes. Patients are not required to pay for any services other than some small amounts towards optical and dental care and treatments bought on prescription. Most doctors and nurses are direct employees of the government and thus paid by the government (Tanner, 2008, p.31). Canada’s system is different from Britain’s in that responsibility is divided between ten provinces and two territories. In other words, the federal government and provinces cover all costs but medical staff is not direct employees of the government. Federal taxes pay for around sixteen percent of health care costs with the remainder covered by provincial taxes.

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