Tuesday, June 16, 2009

McCain Contradicts Himself In The Universal Healthcare Debate

From a CNN interview:

MCCAIN: Look, if we have a government option, then sooner or later it will dramatically increase the cost, it will crowd out private health insurance. And if you’re doing it in the name of competition, we have 1,300 health insurance companies in America today. They’re competing but they’re not getting the kinds of health care costs under control that is necessary.

CNN: Yeah. Do you think that is absolutely necessarily so? That if you have a competing government system, that invariably what will happen is that you will drive some of the private health insurers out of the business?

MCCAIN: I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. Over time you’ll drive them all out, and the idea that somehow the government can administer health care in a more efficient fashion than the private sector I think flies in the face of examples of other countries that have done so.

Wait, he both admits that the private insurance industry will be driven out -- evolving us into a single-payer system (God willing!) -- but also says that the government isn't more efficient than the private sector? I thought the fact that Medicare and similar programs are more efficient than private insurance companies was the reason the industry is so worried about being driven out of business. McCain can't hold both beliefs at the same time -- they're contradictory.

Of course, he's being paid well to oppose a public health insurance plan either way.

Lastly, I just want to note that our healthcare system is nowhere near as efficient at the ones that all of our competing industrialized democracies have. The Commonwealth Fund reports:

Compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom — the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives.

Efficiency: On indicators of efficiency, the U.S. ranks last among the six countries, with the U.K. and New Zealand ranking first and second, respectively. The U.S. has poor performance on measures of national health expenditures and administrative costs as well as on measures of the use of information technology and multidisciplinary teams. Also, of sicker respondents who visited the emergency room, those in Germany and New Zealand are less likely to have done so for a condition that could have been treated by a regular doctor, had one been available.

Oops, Senator McCain.