The best argument against single payer health care

Summary:No more frantic Googling, no more whole days away from work, no more long waits, and no more unnecessary Emergency Room visits, or scary receptionists.

If I had my druthers I would support a single payer health system.

But if I did want to argue against single payer, I would not focus on imagined horror stories from Canada and England, where the majority of people are quite happy with single payer systems.

Instead I would focus on innovators like Jay Parkinson and Hello Health, whom I noted at ZDNet Healthcare in March.

His idea is deceptively simple. Hello Health gives you all the online connection to your doctor you could ever want.

But you pay for that, about $35 per month. And if you actually need to see the doctor, you pay more, $100 for a basic visit, twice that if you need serious time. And no, it's not covered by insurance. It's a version of "concierge medicine," where the doctor is paid to keep you well, not just treat you when you're sick.

As Parkinson told the Boston Globe recently, “No more frantic Googling, no more whole days away from work, no more long waits, and no more unnecessary Emergency Room visits, or scary receptionists.’’

Maybe. Personally I have more faith in Google to make available the health information I need than in the ability of Parkinson or his fellow physicians to aggregate it.

But his concepts are true innovation, not just technologically but in terms of the business model. And they are in line with what reformers call the "medical home" concept, in which technology is used to improve the productivity of both doctors and nurses and patients are in charge of their own care.

Encouraging this innovation is what America is all about, I would argue. Let's see what our entrepreneurs can do with a streamlined payment system before we toss that opportunity away and hand the money to government.

That's what I would say if I were against single payer, anyway. Pity health reform opponents have so little imagination, or faith in entrepreneurship.

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.