“FREE” Multi-Trillion Dollar Healthcare
Why do otherwise sane people lose their minds when it comes to health care issues? This morning a man told me this story. His wife age 72 cut her finger on a clean knife fresh out of the dishwasher. They thought it may need stitches at the emergency room but it turned out that a saltwater rinse, a band aid and an unnecessary tetanus shot did the trick for the bargain price of $839.
This reminded me of what I heard the day before. A younger lady went to the emergency room when she got dizzy. She left the hospital two days and $11,700 worth of scans, x-rays and tests later. For treatment, she was told to drink more water. She was asked, “How on earth are you going to pay those bills?” She answered, “Are you kidding? A few years ago I went to the doctor sort of depressed and came out a few hours later on total disability. I haven't paid a penny anywhere since!”
Tens of thousands of times each day, people don't care how much it costs because it is “free” and they are entitled to it. Neither the medical facility nor the individuals have any motivation to spend less. What is worse is that a population with “free” health care is far less interested in making the wise lifestyle choices that reduce diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity and all the rest. They are in fact rewarded for causing their chronic disease.
If you look and think, you'll realize that our health care crisis is and has been caused by insurance, and in particular by government-run insurance. Can you imagine what health care would cost if it was ALL (instead of partially) run by the same government that is famous for spending $800 for hammers and $4,000 for toilets?
But we haven't seen anything yet. Tens of millions of baby boomers are starting to line up for what will eventually be many trillions worth of “free” medical care, to be paid for from an unfunded federal account being replenished by kids paying taxes on their pizza delivery incomes. Can the government really take in $10 in taxes, waste $9 of it on bureaucracy and stupidity and with the $1 left pay out $400 for health care?
Expect to wait years for surgeries such as those for heart, hernia or ovarian cyst. As you get older, you can also plan on being encouraged to do the patriotic thing, to end your life before you use up a lot of money on health care.
Whether the government runs a universal coverage program or mandates us to buy our own insurance (or a combination of the two), mandates for doctors to take this insurance are sure to follow. Doctors (already demoted to “providers”) will soon be earning so little and hassled with so much paperwork and regulation that a job delivering pizza will start looking pretty good by comparison.
But there is a solution, and it is extremely simple and cost effective: It is called Free Enterprise. Get government OUT of health care. Don't force companies to provide insurance or compel people to buy it. All we need is a true competitive market.
Because this solution probably sounds so foreign, I'd better explain. Because people would pay for health care themselves, 300,000,000 of us would shop for the best doctors for the least money. Medical fees would fall to the point where people were actually willing to pay for them. Better doctors would charge more. Worse doctors would charge less, sharpen their skills or go out of business.
Couples would think twice before spending the extra $15,000 to $25,000 for a cesarean delivery. Patients would ask, “Do I really need a CAT scan costing several thousand dollars?
People wouldn't run to the doctor with every sniffle.
Word would soon get out that most common drugs are priced 4,000% to 30,000% (and sometimes 500,000%!) above the cost of their ingredients, and people would either demand lower prices or search for smarter alternatives.
Perhaps best of all, people would realize that THEY were responsible for their own health and stop doing things that destroyed it.
Unfortunately, what could occur won't. Government will gradually take over health care either directly or indirectly. Insurance companies will continue to make billions of profit. Hospitals and drug companies will continue to expand and take over. We can expect the quality of care will drop and the annual costs to head into the multi-trillion dollar range. But at least it will be FREE (ha ha) !
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples' money” Margaret Thatcher