Khazan suggests that Americans would be happier with commercial health insurance if they were not faced with so many surprise medical bills. And, Congress could ensure Americans never saw these bills if it regulated health care prices and had strict rules about what insurers covered, as the French and German governments do. Europeans do not get surprise medical bills.
In France, there are health insurers, but all doctors are in network. Some doctors can charge above the government-negotiated rate. But, private supplemental insurance generally picks up these additional costs. Doctors’ charges must be posted publicly so you can always know what your costs will be before receiving care.
The German and French systems are not perfect, but most people think of them as being far better than the US health care system. And yet, unlike the United Kingdom or Canada, where health care is government-administered, these countries rely on private health insurers to guarantee health care to their citizens.
These practices all make our system unaffordable to many people who need care and too often leave people needing costly care without the care they need. But, it is hard to see how Congress could regulate these behaviors.
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