Sicko – and the US healthcare system

Here is an email I sent to Michael Moore, in response to his movie Sicko. I am not so naive to think that he would actually respond, but I thought you might find it interesting anyway:

Hi Michael,

I agree with you that the healthcare system in the US is a failure,
and having lived in the UK for several years relying on the NHS, I
also agree with you that the UK national healthcare system is
definitely preferable to the current private sector system in the
United States.

However, it does not follow that nationalized healthcare is the only
possible remedy. Is it not possible that with appropriate regulation,
market forces could provide an effective healthcare system?

I ask because while I’m not a native of the United States, I’ve
noticed that most people here have a serious distrust of their
government, and often regard the private sector as being the lesser of
two evils, the worse evil being the public sector.

Having personally dealt with government bureaucracies in both the UK
and the US, I can well understand this. For example, if you have
questions about how to file taxes in the UK, you can go to the Inland
Revenue (the UK’s IRS) and they will feed you tea and cookies while
they explain the system to you, often pointing out ways you can reduce
your tax burden. Can you imagine the IRS giving you tea and cookies
while they patiently explain how you can pay less tax?

Really I think this is a cultural difference, and given that changing
the culture of the US government may be an even more challenging task
than reforming the healthcare system, does it not make sense to
consider whether there is a system of regulation and/or incentives
that could promote a market-orientated system for the provision of
healthcare in the United States?

Kind regards,

Ian.

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