With a presidential election looming, there’s lots of talk from the candidates about universal health care. Actually, that’s the name if you’re for it. If you want to frame it as a negative, it’s socialized medicine… government mandated socialized medicine.
As Helaine and I talk more and more about what we’ll do after retirement, we realize some sort of health insurance is necessary. Right now, self financed health care for older Americans is ridiculously expensive, if you can get it at all.
We’re banking on universal care.
However, there are unintended consequences in universal health care – some good and some bad.
How will we keep our medical facilities from being inundated, if treatment is free? Should there be a limit on end-of-life care which prolongs life with little life quality? If so, who makes that decision?
What are we going to do when employees of companies with good benefits packages begin to retire in droves, because they no longer need the one thing that kept them working – insurance?
Some people have speculated about a huge wave of retirements at the US auto makers. There are other large institutional employers which will be hit the same way.
In some ways, this is a good thing. The allure of entrepreneurship will increase if a start-up comes fully equipped with insurance. Businesses, like that run by my sister and brother-in-law, might decide to go where the weather is better, if they would remain insured.
Universal health care as an abstract concept sounds pretty good. The devil is in the details.