The IMO recalled that for-profit medicine “has been a disaster in other countries”, most evidently in the US.
The US has by far the most privatised system in the world. The two graphs show that it is twice as expensive as other developed countries’ systems which are largely public.

Click here to view a larger version of this graph.
Why are for-profit systems so expensive? One reason is that they need to generate profits and pay bonuses for executives, taking funds away from care. Another is bureaucratic waste. Privatised systems involve a lot of paperwork to assess insurance claims, to code and price hospital services, to record all transactions taking place in the market, and so on. In Ireland, there are now over 400 insurance plans available. This makes it extremely complicated to manage and involves armies of private bureaucrats to process.

The US has the highest administration expenditures among developed countries, accounting for 25% of total hospital spending, compared to 12% in Canada and 16% in England (which have public systems). The US would save $150 billion a year if it reduced its administrative expenses to Canada’s level.

If the US had better health outcomes, this could be justified, but it’s the opposite. For example, life expectancy in the US is only 78.7 years whereas all other developed countries are above 80.0 years. Also, infant mortality is at 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in the US, the worst among developed countries.

In for-profit systems, quality of care is compromised because doctors may be under pressure “to refer patients for particular procedures that are more profitable” or “to discharge patients early to meet activity levels and reduce their length of stay. The risk of readmission and even death in these cases is high”, stated the IMO. In short, prioritising the bottom line over health is a recipe for disaster.

The above has been taken from an article written by Julien Mercille -