Daily Kos: Public v. Private Healthcare Why do people think that theyre better off with a private system for healthcare delivery? All private healthcare providers have one very important thing on their minds that is not conducive to good healthcare: profit. Yes, yes, I know the argument the profit motive is a good thing because it encourages competition. But among health insurers, that competition takes the form of refusing to insure people with pre-existing conditions and trying to slough off all high-cost insureds. More importantly, the supposed benefits of the profit motive, for whatever reason, don't operate in the healthcare sector. As study after study demonstrates, we spend far more money than any other developed nation on healthcare for worse outcomes. Some time ago, I read a study finding that public and charitable hospitals spend a larger percentage of their revenue on patient care than private hospitals duh. They dont have to worry about profit. Every penny that owners take out of a hospital in profit is a penny they cant spend on patient care. This is only one reason why the whole "free-market" approach does not work for healthcare. I understand that no one would make Mercedes-Benzes or build fancy houses if there were no profit involved. But people will provide healthcare without profit, and I think thats a preferable system. The standard economic models we typically use to organize our world just dont work for healthcare. University hospitals, for example, are often excellent places to get health care. If you cant afford a Mercedes-Benz, tough shit. Do without. If you cant afford a liver transplant, well, thats a different story. You just cant expect people to voluntarily do without healthcare when their lives are at stake. And I hope we never become a society that is so lacking in compassion that were willing to let people just die for lack of the money to pay for healthcare any more than we already do. I think its really sad that we let the mindless free-market for everything crowd dominate the healthcare debate when their arguments so plainly make no sense in this context.