We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The crisis is that too many folks expect free stuff.
But before I get rolling, a few minor points. First, I will not call medical care "health care." What does "health care" mean? Second, nor will I call Physicians "health care providers." Please. Even in this day of high-tech medicine, many doctors remain identified with the medical priesthood in which we are privileged to hear your confidences and confessions, to probe your body and your mind with kindliness and the best of intentions. Honestly, it's quite a burden and an unimaginable responsibility for those outside the profession. Third, health is not a right. It's the product of good luck, some self-care and responsibility, good genes, and God's grace. And it is something that no-one can keep. We have a built-in self-destruct program, such that every good day after age 40 - when Mother Nature no longer needs us - is a gift.
Why do medical costs rise? Because we do more than we used to do, to help people. Twenty years ago, a new knee was a rarity and experimental. Now it's routine, but it can't be cheap. Remember how many folks were lurching around on canes 30 years ago, with bad hips and bad knees? How often do you see that now? And the huge numbers of cardiac invalids we used to have to make house calls on - where are they now? Not to mention the depressives, the phobics, the invalid diabetics, the bad back invalids - you name it. We haven't extended the life span much in the past 40 years, but we have done a heck of a job with quality of life.
I have often conjectured that the real reason politicians like to talk about health care is so no-one suggests government-run single-payer, single-provider legal care. In a Republic, you could make a case that everyone is entitled to the same legal care, because there's a political right involved. Ask the legal beagles at Bainbridge or View from 1776 - it might be Constitutional.
But there is no right to medical care any more than there is a right to a car, or car insurance or nice vacations, or, for that matter, a right to good health. I see it no-where in the Constitution - not even the hint of a penumbra of an aura of a fog. Part of being a grown-up in a free country is taking responsibility for your family's well-being. Or don't have a family. In Europe, the whites have basically stopped breeding, because of the expense. The adults want to be children. So if everyone who isn't insured went out and bought catastrophic medical insurance, which is inexpensive and rational, instead of a new whatever, there would be no problem at all. That's probably what Medicare should have been.
And don't believe those statistics about medicine in Canada, England, France, etc. They don't do half of what we do routinely. If they did, then how come the wealthy from those countries all come to the Mayo Clinic, New York Presbyterian, Yale-New Haven, and Mass General, etc. for treatment? They want the best, and they don't want to be rationed. We are the world leaders in medicine, in medical innovation, and in pharmaceuticals, and we do it with no bureaucracy at all (except in the hospital administrations, and even there, it's small) and with no rationing at all.
My opinion: It ain't broke, so don't fix it. Don't listen to whining businesses - they just want someone else to pay for the coverage; don't listen to whining people - they just want a hand-out and will buy a new TV or a new car but want to gripe about medical care; and don't listen to the Leftys - they just want the govt to run everything...one totalitarian step at a time. Let's all try to feel fortunate that we are free to buy what we need here in the USA. And if you have fallen on really hard times, we have medical charity everywhere, plus Medicaid.
And Arnold Kling makes the economically rational case for catastrophic insurance - which I have and which most docs have - here. From his piece: "Ask an economist what is the best type of health insurance, and he or she is likely to respond "catastrophic coverage." Our assumption is that rational consumers should be motivated by risk aversion and low cost. Risk aversion means that they should be concerned about mitigating the impact of severe, expensive illnesses. The low-cost way to do this is with catastrophic health coverage. The most familiar form of catastrophic coverage is health insurance with a high deductible."
And then read Dr. Bob on the subject of charity care - he does what many if not most of us do.