Socialized Medicine – Good Or Bad For EMS?

A popular topic often debated in political races and amongst health care providers is the need for nationalized medical coverage (socialized medicine). Various other countries like Canada, England and Australia utilize such services. A popular argument for nationalized health care is availability of insurance for all citizens regardless of their financial situation. On the surface, the idea sounds reasonable, but in a nation run by private enterprise it can cause more problems then it’s worth.

Insurance coverage provided by both the state and federal government has proven itself to be inadequate and bad for business. As it already stands government funded health insurance reimburses pennies on the dollar for both emergency and non-emergency medical care. Many hospitals, private doctors offices, and medical facilities are turning away these patients because of a significant lack of compensation.

EMS providers are in a bad position as they don’t have the option of turning away non-payers or government-funded payers. This leaves ambulance services and emergency departments relying on private insurance companies to make up for the significant losses cause by government-funded insurance. Switching to a nationalized health care plan would be sure to place most private providers out of business.

The loss of private EMS services would require state and local governments to pick up the slack and provide the service at the cost of the tax payers. This of course would significantly increase income and property taxes to pay for the insurance and the services provided in place of private medical operations.

Sure, having more government jobs could result in retirement plans and good benefits, but the amount of jobs available could rapidly decrease. Budget cuts and increasing cost of doing business would either result in raising taxes or cutting jobs. Once government bureaucracy comes into play, you can be assured that the number of ambulances on the streets will be decline. Local police agencies are a prime example. It is hard to find a police department that claims to have adequate staffing. Socialized medicine would leave EMS agencies in the exact same situation.

Our health care system in the United States is far from perfect. Abuse on the system, lawsuits and uninsured patients are constantly increasing the cost to do provide medical care. Work needs to be done to resolve this issue, but not at the expense of the tax payers.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me.

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