Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’
ever-expanding role of government in healthcare provides an excellent example of Ludwig Von Mises’ warning that “The Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism.” Beginning in the 1940s, government policies distorted the health care market, causing prices to rise and denying many Americans access to quality care. Congress reacted to the problems caused by their prior interventions with new interventions, such as the HMO Act, ERISA, EMTLA, and various federal entitlement programs. Each new federal intervention not only failed to fix the problems it was supposedly created to solve, it created new problems, leading to calls for even more new federal interventions. This process culminated in 2010, when Congress passed Obamacare.
Contrary to the claims of some of its opponents, Obamacare is not socialized medicine. It is corporatized medicine. After all, the central feature of Obamacare is the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance from private health insurance companies. And, as with previous government interventions in the marketplace, Obamacare is not only failing to correct the problems caused by prior federal laws, it is creating new problems.
Read more by Ron Paul at the-free-foundation.org
Every year, the International Federation of Health Plans — a global insurance trade association that includes more than 100 insurers in 25 countries — releases survey data showing the prices that insurers are actually paying for different drugs, devices, and medical services in different countries. And every year, the data is shocking.
The IFHP just released the data for 2012. And yes, once again, the numbers are shocking.
This is the fundamental fact of American health care: We pay much, much more than other countries do for the exact same things. For a detailed explanation of why, see this article. But this post isn’t about the why. It’s about the prices, and the graphs.
One note: Prices in the United States are expressed as a range. There’s a reason for that. In other countries, prices are set centrally and most everyone, no matter their region or insurance arrangement, pays pretty close to the same amount. In the United States, each insurer negotiates its own prices, and different insurers end up paying wildly different amounts. That’s what Steven Brill’s explosive article was about, and it’s why you see U.S. prices expressed as a range rather than a single number.
Read more by Ezra Klein at WashingtonPost.com
–SNIP– THE CURRENT SYSTEM IS NOT A FREE MARKET
The current system is not a case of the free market failing the little guy and favoring the wealthy. Right now:
You cannot choose one medication over another, even beforehand, on the basis of cost;
You cannot choose one hospital over another based on the quality of management and nursing support;
You cannot choose your doctor based on hourly rate or volume of patients;
You cannot choose what procedures you want or need based on how much they cost from one hospital or doctor to the next.
This is insane.
–SNIP– THE SOLUTIONS ARE OUT THERE, BUT SPECIAL INTERESTS WANT A QUICK FIX
John Mackey is the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, a national grocery chain that specializes in organic, unprocessed foods and natural remedies. It is an immensely successful venture, with 340 stores worldwide and 73,000 full-time employees, all of which qualify for a custom health care plan the company has devised. In 2009, amidst the health care reform battle, Mackey wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that compiled the most important and understandable reform principles needed in health care, and presented them as an alternative. The current law take almost none of them into account, and simply changes who pays for it rather that moving the industry toward a real free market.
These solutions are not the be all-end all of reform, but they are the most fundamental change we could advocate that would take our current system and move it closer to one that is cheaper, more accessible, freer and more flexible to changing patient needs and scientific discoveries.
Read more by Ed Willing at willingness.me
It’s one of the most fundamental political questions of our time: What’s driving the growth in government spending? And it has a relatively straightforward answer: first and foremost, spending on health care through Medicare and Medicaid, and other major social insurance and entitlement programs.
But I thought it was worth reviewing the evidence in a bit more detail. There are a few surprises along the way, some of which liberal readers might like and others of which will please conservative readers.
The Web site usgovernmentspending.com has an abundance of data on federal, state and local spending at different points in time. My focus will be on how government has been spending its money in the present and the past, rather than evaluating any future budgets or projections.
Read more by NATE SILVER at fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com
Surgery center provides free-market medicine.
Three years ago, Dr. Keith Smith, co-founder and managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, took an initiative that would only be considered radical in the health care industry: He posted online a list of prices for 112 common surgical procedures. The 51-year-old Smith, a self-described libertarian, and his business partner, Dr. Steve Lantier, founded the Surgery Center 15 years ago, after they became disillusioned with the way patients were treated at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, where the two men worked as anesthesiologists. In 1997, Smith and Lantier bought the shell of a former surgical center with the aim of creating a for-profit facility that could deliver first-rate care at a fraction of what traditional hospitals charge.
The major cause of exploding U.S. heath care costs is the third-party payer system, a text-book concept in which A buys goods or services from B that are paid for by C. Because private insurance companies or the government generally pick up most of the tab for medical services, patients don’t have the normal incentive to seek out value.
The Surgery Center’s consumer-driven model could become increasingly common as Americans look for alternatives to the traditional health care market—an unintended consequence of Obamacare. Patients may have no choice but to look outside the traditional health care industry in the face of higher costs and reduced access to doctors and hospitals.
Read more by Jim Epstein at Reason.com