More Bad Healthcare!

Yes, have no fear.  The new Republican-only health care plan (replacing the previous Democrat-only plan) will continue to provide the same awful maze of premiums, deductibles, regulations, paper pushing and confusion that you all are used to.  And, in no time, I am confident we will all be gnashing our teeth over rising costs and poor quality service.  And, as always, the solution will be more government.  It is mind boggling that people keep falling for this argument but they do.

If wiping out perfectly legal businesses didn’t run counter to my moral principles, I might be inclined to suggest a reform that could actually work:  abolish all insurance and all insurance companies.  And just watch prices plummet in a market without all this artificial demand.  But I won’t advocate that.  

Health care is far from simple to understand, as even our great toupee topped tsar has come to realize.  I don’t presume to know all the answers but I will share what I believe are facts beyond dispute and allow you to reach your own conclusions. 

First, equating having insurance to having easy, inexpensive access to healthcare is false.  The goal should be the latter, not the former.  Second, if we want better prices for health services, we have two options:  decreasing demand or increasing supply.  Third, demand for health care is not ever likely to decline.  Even the healthiest societies will face accidents and end of life care.  When faced with life or death choices, we will choose life the vast majority of the time.  That leaves us with only one realistic option: increasing the supply of health services.

So why is that even an issue?  Imagine an industry with rising demand (and prices) for a service that is frequently essential to the well being of the consumer.  Sounds like the business for me!  And a great investment opportunity as well.  Haven’t I just described the health services industry?  So why hasn’t all this increased demand led to better service and lower prices as it has in most every other segment of our economy?

Well, in most industries, there are not nearly so many non-financial barriers to entry.  It is ridiculously expensive and difficult to become a Doctor and the number of available slots in medical schools is kept artificially low.  Many services that legally require a physician could be provided by non-physicians at little or no risk to the patient.  Frankly, most medicine is not brain surgery but it is often treated that way.  

Oh, and you have a drug or some alternative treatment that you would like to provide?  Good luck!  Unless you have the deep pockets of a multinational corporation, you will never have a chance.  It can take billions of dollars to bring a treatment to market and, even then, drug safety is far from a sure thing.  Oh, and if the drug gets approved, guess who ends up footing the bill in ridiculous drug prices?  Yeah, you figured it out.  That would be the consumer.

So, if you want more and better health care, get government out of the way and let the market provide it.  Legally require transparency so that consumers are better able to balance cost and potential risks/benefits.  Continue to provide recourse in the legal system for those who believe they have been harmed from improper or unsafe procedures.  If you must, ban or greatly restrict very risky options. But, as much as possible, let consumers make choices.  Will they make deadly mistakes?  Probably so.  But they make them now and with a false sense of security.

Someday I will discuss the emerging market out there for “insurance free medicine” and some of what I have read is very exciting.  For now, I will cut this short.  Just felt the need to say my piece, with all the misinformation I have had to wade through today.  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

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