COMMENTARY | The latest group to advocate, at least inadvertently, for a single-payer health care system, often derided by conservatives as “socialized” medicine, is the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to NBC, the group is warning parents with small children to avoid purchasing health insurance plans with high deductibles, claiming that such plans may harm children’s health by later scaring parents into avoiding medical care. These plans, with low premiums, lure in consumers but, once they have been purchased, lead to worse health care when consumers balk at paying the higher deductible. In the end, the insurance companies win: They get their monthly premium but fewer consumers require payouts, made to suffer in silence because they cannot pay the exorbitant deductibles.
The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that many people may be unaware of just how expensive these high-deductible health care plans can be and notes that there has been a massive surge in their use, going from four percent of employees in 2006 to twenty percent in 2013. Obviously, employers are preferring to go with these high-deductible plans to save money, transferring more financial burdens onto their workers. Not what you expect when you choose a job that proudly advertises that it offers health and dental, huh?
Now that the American Academy of Pediatrics is considering asking legislators to mandate that low-premium, high-deductible health insurance plans only be allowed for adults, on the grounds that the state is obligated to protect children, why don’t we drop the expensive charade and get to where we need to go already? A single-payer, “socialized” health care plan protects children and adults. Even if you want to let adults take risks with their own health care, these adults are employees, spouses, parents, and taxpayers – people upon whom others rely.
We have compulsory education because we know we cannot trust children and parents to always make wise decisions, and unwise decisions like ending one’s education early can have permanent harmful effects. As a result, we offer no-cost public education up through high school and, in some places, through community college. Why not do the same thing with medical care? Is not proper health care as basic a right as proper education?
States strive to guarantee that all children receive education which exemplifies “best practices” through age 18…why not apply that same guarantee to health care? Instead, we rely on whatever parents decide to, or can, muster. Most parents do admirably, but is that enough?