This one hits especially close to home to me because I'm currently taking a bunch of classes with a bunch of other pre-meds at UC Berkeley. The city of Berkeley is extremely liberal/idealistic as are young people who haven't yet fully grasped the concept of "resources are scarce," so when you combine them both you can only imagine. I've been told at point blank "I can't believe you want to be a doctor and don't think everyone should have access to free and unlimited health care," and this gets quite annoying since I actually donate money (shout out to Kiva and Smile Train) and I think I realize how fortunate I've been, but it seems like the people who do the most complaining also not usually get much done.
I haven't spent a ton of time analyzing the data and potential effects of universal health care. In my opinion, it's likely a textbook example of a topic where I could manipulate the data however I wanted to. If I worked for insurance companies who wanted everything to stay the same, I'm sure I could fund a bunch of studies and do some research on the internet to make universal health care seem awful. If a senator hired me to try to lobby for universal health care, I'm sure I could find data and studies which make it seem awesome. I have no doubt that it's not that hard to find a study to support your point of view on this, so while I have researched it a bit I'm just going to focus on the most important aspects of it.
1. When we use modern medical technology, we are usually keeping old people alive when they are NOT productive. This means in general we spend the most money on society's least productive members who have no chance at ever becoming productive.
2. Economies of scale in the healthcare industry don't seem particularly realistic. You cannot mass produce doctors the way you can mass produce a car, so anytime I'm told "universal health care will save money!" I'm extremely skeptical. I fully believe there are ways to make healthcare cheaper, but I don't think it's some mass production miracle.
3. Americans are obese, and obese people cost a lot of money to keep healthy. Diabetes paitients are EXTREMELY expensive to take care of, and Americans are getting diabetes are an insane rate (1/3 children born after year 2000 in the USA are estimated to get diabetes). Americans eat terribly here and their health suffers for it, and once they become sick they expect others to pay for it once health insurance gets expensive.
This may be my biggest pet peeve. Americans don't seem to understand that health insurance is not like a gym membership. You can say "Man, I'm out of shape, better join the gym and get in shape now!" and pay a normal gym membership fee. You cannot say "Man, I'm very sick, better get some health insurance so I can get healthy now!" They are nothing alike, and the willingness of Americans to get incredibly unhealthy by their diets and THEN expect to get help shows just how out of whack our culture is in this regard.
4. The government, in general, is extremely wasteful and sucks at just about everything it does because there is rarely any competition and rarely severe consequences for failure. Competition is great as it forces people to improve in order to remain competitive. When the government screws up, the taxpayers are the ones that end up paying so the person who messed up rarely faces any real consequences. While there are many problems we need government intervention on, it's ridiculous to think the government will be effective at running a trillion dollar industry like health care.
I think people in general don't understand resources are limited and once you change people's incentives they act differently. For example, unemployment insurance strongly encourages people to wait longer to get a job. My friend literally just told me last week "I recently learned I will make more money if I go on unemployment then keep my job." These incentives STRONGLY influence the way people act.When it comes to life and death situations, for example, such as "who gets this incredibly expensive treatment?" this problem is much, much worse. The same people who think "life is priceless and everyone deserves free medical treatment" often are the same people who smoke, are fat, don't work hard so they can afford health insurance, and don't donate any money to the 95%+ of the world less fortunate than them. They believe food somehow isn't a fundamental right to people in America and other countries, or the right to surgery with a cleft lip in other countries (it's $250 for the surgery and it literally changes someone's life), yet in America everyone deserves the right to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment if they need it to live.
Quite simply, we can't sustain this. We're not a rich enough nation to provide free and unlimited health care to everyone, and people don't understand this. We also can't change people's incentives and expect them not to act differently. A LOT of the reason people in America get sick is because they smoke, they're fat, they don't move, etc. Do you really think free health care is the one aspect of life where changing people's incentives won't change the way they act? Of course not. People will be less likely to smoke if they know they'll simply die when they get lung cancer and can't afford treatment, and they'll be less likely to be overweight if they know they have to pay more money for health insurance based on their BMI or if they don't have it but have health problems (likely if they're obese) they're out of luck. In non-super rich nations people tend to have a much better grasp of the fact that actions have consequences, and unfortunately, it seems like we're going to have to learn it the hard way once our government gets us in enough debt that people stop feeling confident the government will be able to pay it back.
The baby boomer generation is about to get really old soon and feel entitled to free and unlimited health care. This technology is extremely expensive and access to doctors and nurses is extremely expensive, so there is no way to really keep this cost low without destroying the incentives of researchers to develop new technologies. This is going to happen while young people are pissed off they live in a country with a bunch of debt they didn't create as they are getting into MORE debt and can't get jobs. If our government got itself into over a year's GDP in debt after being a huge economic superpower, how can we expect to not go completely broke when this nightmare begins to happen (if it hasn't already) in a couple years? Not to mention reason #3, which I'll get to in a few days...