When you buy a home, the bank is supposed to make sure you can afford the mortgage. Your situation may change later on, but at the time you take out the loan employment checks and income verifications are (supposed to be) performed to minimize the risk to the lender. Same goes for buying a car. And of course, these properties MUST be insured against fire, accidents, or other events that may result in financial harm either for the bank or the owner. In addition, unemployment insurance is something we are all required to pay into. This is intended to mitigate for a particular type of hardship which may arise. We could debate whether or not this mitigation is adequate, but it does exist.

Regardless, when it comes to healthcare vs. property insurance or insurance against potential future financial hardship you’re comparing apples and oranges. The market simply does not work in healthcare emergencies. If you’ve just had a heart attack or you child has just had a serious accident, you don’t have either the time or (probably) medical knowledge to go shopping for the best cardiologist or surgeon. In fact, you could be accused of negligence if you sat there allowing your child to bleed out while you conducted a Google search for the most effective doctor at the lowest price. You don’t get to shop around for the physician who will treat you or your loved one at the lowest cost, or probably even pick the hospital the ambulance is going to rush you or your child to in these kinds of situations. In addition, the hospital doesn’t get to turn you away at the door in the event you lack medical coverage or other financial resources. There is nothing free market about the situation and no amount of deregulation is going to change that. A life is on the line.

If/when it comes to a series of unfortunate events that may require your bank to foreclose, the situation is very different. A health crisis is an immediate crisis with life or death consequences, while the consequences of financial hardship play out over time and, in the event of something like a foreclosure, involves legal proceedings and months of paperwork. At the end of it all the bank simply takes away your home and resells it, often recouping its losses plus some (depending upon how much of your mortgage had been paid to that point and increases in property value since your purchase).

As for any single study you might find, the FACT is the US spends nearly 18% of its GDP on healthcare compared to roughly 10% everywhere else. The FACT also is that life expectancies and infant mortality rates are longer and lower respectively in Canada, Western Europe, Japan and other developed nations with universal coverage on average. To pick on just one state, Texas has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world. A single study that concludes healthcare is actually fairly cheap and functioning well in the US is likely a study driven by ideology rather than reality given the reams of data accumulating annually that indicates otherwise.

Written by

US citizen residing in British Columbia, Canada. Degrees include anthropology and environmental studies. Activism, politics, science, nature.

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