Friday, October 30, 2009

Health Care

So, are you for letting people die when they could be saved? Do you want people to get cancer and not get any treatment?

Ah, the sensationalist questions that force you into socialized medicine...

We don't have a care problem in the United States. We have an affordability problem. Why do we have this problem? It's complex, but the simple answer is that market forces are not in play. Why is it that every product becomes better and cheaper over time except healthcare? Well ... care has gotten better, but it certainly hasn't gotten cheaper.

The problem is that what we have now is not a free market in any way. The consumer generally has no idea what things actually cost, so they don't use their dollars to choose. If a doctor visit costs somebody $200 out of pocket, I guarantee they would shop around a little. This competition would drive prices down and create markets for cheaper clinics to provide basic services at very little cost. If a prescription cost someone $500 out of pocket, the same thing applies. Pretty soon, routine visits and prescriptions would cost the same (or less) than current copays.

The current problem is really on those that don't have insurance. Because of the behavior of the majority that have insurance, the retail cost of all of these things is hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you don't have insurance, you just can't afford to pay for these things and you go without. This is where our heart strings get tugged on and we're led down the path of socialized medicine.

Solution? Get rid of insurance for day-to-day healthcare. Create a free market for treatments of colds, viruses, broken bones, and all other routine items. Insurance should focus on the catastrophic: cancer, failed organs, major diseases, etc.

If you want to talk to me about government programs for catastrophic insurance, then I'd be willing to listen. Otherwise, the government has no place in this market, other than maybe blowing up the current one to allow a real market.