Off-and-on commenter "Duane" had the following in the midst of his comments on health care:
Single payer means we can all stop paying for medical insurance. Yes taxes will go up but the disappearance of the massive overhead that insurance companies add will take care of that "increased demand" you think comes with third party payer.1) Single-payer does nt mean that we can all stop paying for medical insurance. It means that medical insurance will be paid for through taxes. Some folks will end up paying exorbitant prices for their health insurance while others will pay nothing. Liberals addicted to progressive punishment of wealth accumulation will love that arrangement, no doubt. In the end, however, there just isn't any such thing as a free lunch.
2) Yes, taxes will go up, unless we borrow the money and grow the deficit. Though we could do both, which is what would apparently happen under the latest version of the Obamacare plan.
3) The single-payer plan is unlikely to significantly decrease the "massive overhead" that private insurance adds to health insurance costs, except through rationing of health care services (providing less service would probably reduce the need for overhead). Governments tend to operate less efficiently than private concerns since the latter need to concern themselves with profits. Massive overhead is a drag on profits, so private companies are highly motivated to keep overhead costs under control. Medicare, as I understand it, runs higher administrative costs per patient than does private insurance.
4) The third-party payment problem is a classic economic phenomenon. It's like me just "thinking" that printing more money so that everyone will have twice as much will devalue the currency by half, in principle. It's basic economics, not just my personal opinion. When somebody else is paying for something, the demand for that something dependably goes up. Insurance companies know that. That's why co-pays and deductibles are featured prominently in most insurance plans. Plans without co-pays and deductibles are extremely expensive merely because the high premium is likely to make up for the increased use of services.