Health Care: If Government is the Problem, Why Are We Giving Them More Control of It?

I agree with President Obama--health care in the United States is in desperate need of fixing. I even agree with some of his proposed solutions. But a national health care/insurance scheme would be a debacle. The federal government currently has the grubby paws of minutiae tightly wrapped around even private health care in the several states. Could it be that government is a bigger cause of the skyrocketing cost of health care than government would have you believe?

Share/Save/Bookmark
Recently on the Liberty Rountable radio program, host Sam Bushman spoke of his experience trying to pay a doctor bill. The receptionist eventually told him that it didn't matter whether he didn't have insurance and wanted to pay in cash--the federal government required

Under a national health care regime, private care will become almost extinct for the same reason that private schools are few and far between. Almost no one can afford to pay for both. Thus quality health care will become another product that only the elite can afford.

them to fill out the same forms anyway. The receptionist confided in Mr. Bushman that federal government requirements significantly increase the costs of providing health care even to those without health insurance wanting to pay for their care with cash.

Don't get me wrong. Health care needs to be reformed in the United States. Something is really out of whack when, every year at the annual benefits meetings at my employment, we are told that our premiums are going up by another 8-10 percent or so.

President Obama has at least two good ideas regarding the improvement of health care in the United States. I heard him say recently that in his opinion insurance companies should not be allowed to turn away applicants due to pre-existing conditions. He also supports making health insurance policies portable between jobs; in other words, if you lose your job you shouldn't also lose your health insurance coverage. These are both fabulous ideas. What I'm concerned about is that, rather than a 1-page bill containing these two rule changes, the current bill coursing its way through congress is 1,018 pages!

A small car can "turn on a dime". Battleships can't. Similarly, it's much easier to fix the effects of small changes that are found to be bad law than it is to fix the effects of 1,018 pages of new law that hardly anyone has read or can understand.

Government needs to be involved in health care/insurance, but only

A small car can "turn on a dime". A battleship can't. Similarly, it's much easier to fix the effects of small changes that are found to be bad law than it is to fix the effects of 1,018 pages of new law that hardly anyone has read or can understand.

from the point of establishing fair rules for the provision of care and insurance. Once it becomes a competitor in the provider arena, it will become the 800-pound gorilla. Under a national health care regime, private care will become almost extinct for the same reason that private schools are few and far between. Almost no one can afford to pay for both. Thus quality health care will become another product that only the elite can afford.

Here are some other ideas that, if implemented, would help cut costs:
  • Make it easier for insurers to provide Health Savings Accounts, which allow and encourage the insured to benefit financially from living healthier lives
  • Allow anyone to purchase any health insurance plan from any provider in any state. Health insurance premiums in some states are far higher than in others due to the requirements in those state of what insurers must cover.
  • Allow new pharmaceutical drugs to be provided without the onerous approval process currently imposed by the Food and Drug Administration. This would have the added benefit of no longer allowing Canada (and Europe?) to pretend they have cheaper health care costs in part because they wait to use American drugs until after Americans have had to pay the high costs of new drug approval.
  • Congress should not be able to pass laws prohibiting the construction of new health care facilities for the benefit of existing facilities (see "Who Killed Health Care?")
We don't need to pass thousand-page bills in Congress (that nobody has time to read anyway) to significantly improve our health care system. With a few simple rule changes, the federal government can facilitate a much more cost-effective health care system in the United States.

Besides making some simple rules, the most cost-effective thing the federal government could do for health care in the United States is to get the heck out of the way.



Comments

  1. "1,018 pages of new law that hardly anyone has read"

    I think you may be guilty of being too generous here. Has anyone read the whole thing?

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can rest easy. Nobody in a position to do anything about it is proposing a government-run health care system.

    During last year's presidential campaign, all the major Democratic Party candidates said single-payer was off the table, not to be discussed, could never happen, was politically impossible, yada yada yada. Instead they proposed individual mandates, a Republican idea championed by Willard "Mitt" Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Of course, Medicare is a single-payer system. It works just fine, and people on Medicare are much more satisfied than those who are stuck with private, for-profit health insurance.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good observations and ideas. I agree that it would be better to make reform, no matter the type of reform, one small bill at a time. Tweak something, see if it works or not, and then try something else.

    One main problem is that government already pays for a lot of health care through Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Veterans, etc. so all of these debates about whether or not private or public is better, comparing the "private" U.S. system with government-run systems, are useless. The U.S. has a private-public system, not private.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Medicare does not, in fact, work just fine. Pres. Obama just said the other night, “[T]he biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid.” And putting everyone on Medicare is going to fix this?

    Of course people on Medicare are satisfied. THEY DON'T PAY FOR IT! It's always simple to satisfy those that receive benefits for which they do not pay. But we cannot all live at someone else's expense. That kind of Ponzi scheme cannot work.

    Frank, why not include the ultimate in making health insurance portable in your list? That would be to remove the employer from the equation. If I had to buy my car or homeowner insurance through my employer, I would be offered a limited handful of plans designed by my employer that don't necessarily meet my needs. Why do we accept this model for health care?

    Just as car and homeowner insurance is not subsidized, health insurance should not be subsidized. These subsidies skew the market, encourage overconsumption (or inappropriately allocated consumption), and encourage providers to provide unnecessary products and services.

    If people were free to purchase their own health insurance from any provider in the nation, most would opt for plans with much higher deductibles and lower premiums. You don't have to think very hard to figure out who is opposed to this kind of liberty. It just so happens to be some of the same folks that are greasing the palms of the politicians right now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If government is the problem, we're the problem. The "government is incompetent" mantra has surely set the founding fathers spinning. Let's live up to the opportunity they gave us and take responsibility. Let's manage healthcare by managing government.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I completely agree that we're the problem. It doesn't fix the problem, though, to turn over the management of such a complex program to a small group of elites.

    Additionally, it's unconstitutional.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "Let's manage healthcare by managing government."

    It's too big to manage.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting. If you have a Google/Blogger account, to be apprised of ongoing comment activity on this article, please click the "Subscribe" link below.

Popular posts from this blog

"Mormon Leaks": What They Really Said-Senator Gordon Smith Discusses Politcs