As Reid writes, other countries have made it work with many different kinds of healthcare providers — doctors can work directly for the government, as in the U.K., or not, as in most other rich countries. Hospitals can be for-profit or not. But no one has been able to create a viable system of universal healthcare based on citizens being forced to help insurance companies make a profit.
Moreover, the political ramifications of non-profit healthcare financing go far beyond making it feasible to have a strong individual mandate to buy insurance. It also is a key reason why such systems have much lower costs: “When Aetna or WellPoint declines to pay for a drug or a procedure, the money saved goes to enhance the insurer’s profit, not to pay for another person’s treatment,” Reid points out. “So people are less willing to tolerate cost controls.”
So either Obamacare will include a universally-available, non-profit public option — which in turn would likely eventually become the only option — or it will eventually expire. There is no third way.Capitalism confronts democracy. Which will win?
Obamacare’s Faltering for One Simple Reason: Profit