Category Archives: Healthcare Reform

Could Smart Healthcare Reform Solve the U.S. Budget Deficit?

Karl Denninger makes the case that the U.S. federal budget deficit is the fault of medical monopolies that are exempt from the Sherman and Clayton anti-trust laws. In his 20-minute video, Karl mentions that a vial of scorpion antivenin costs $10,000 in the U.S., but only $100 across the border in Mexico.

In a free market, a buyer of a product or service can easily determine how much it costs, whether it’s a haircut or a house. If you think U.S. healthcare is anything near a free market, just call up your local hospitals and ask how much they charge for an uncomplicated hospitalization to have a baby or groin hernia repair. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

They won’t or can’t give you the numbers. Nor do they advertise the prices so you can be a smart shopper.

Have you noticed how advances in science and technology tend to lower the cost of most goods and services, such as computers, cell phones, food, and clothing? Why don’t we see that in healthcare? Because of monopolistic practices and other excessive governmental regulation and bureaucracy affecting not only healthcare providers but also Big Pharma and health insurers.

Unfortunately, I don’t see the situation changing anytime soon.

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

 

You May Need to Rein In Your Doctors at the End of Your Life

The Wall Street Journal has a sad article about end-of-life care and being in control. Some statistics caught my eye:

This disconnect has ruinous economic costs. About a quarter of Medicare’s $550 billion annual budget pays for medical treatment in the last year of life. Almost a third of Medicare patients have surgery in their last year of life, and nearly one in five in their last month of life. In their last year of life, one-third to one-half of Medicare patients spend time in an intensive care unit, where 10 days of futile flailing can cost as much as $323,000. Medical overtreatment costs the U.S. health care system an estimated $158 billion to $226 billion a year.

But you don’t care about the money because you’re not paying for it, right? Remember that physicians are much less aggressive with end-of-life care when it comes to their own lives. It’s not about the money.

Read the whole thing.

Steve Parker, M.D.

The Solution to High U.S. Healthcare Cost is LESS Government Intervention, Not More

For the argument, click through for an article at The Heritage Foundation. A quote:

The United States does not have a private-sector health insurance system, let alone a functioning competitive market for insurance or health services. In fact, the federal government has been the dominant force in American health care for decades, long before the recent massive expansion of the government’s role in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [Obamacare]. Through overly restrictive policies, Medicare, Medicaid, and tax subsidies, the federal government has dominated the operation of the U.S. health care system for the past half-century. It is primarily federal policies that are responsible for driving up costs and making health insurance unaffordable for so many Americans.

You’ll read how Democrats helped deregulate the airline and trucking industries, leading to lower consumer costs.

QOTD On Obamacare: How Do You Tell If a Politician Is Lying?

“President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.”

Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News

Big Pharma, Big Ag, and Now Big Medicine

Steven Hsieh has an article at PJ Media on how to co-exist with the U.S. government take-over of one sixth of our economy: health insurance and medical care. His major points of advice are:

  • Take control of your health spending
  • Find a doctor who will work for you
  • Be engaged in your own health care
  • Defend the morality of private medicine

As long as it’s safe and affordable, you’ll want to avoid Obamacare doctors and hospitals. Get yourself as healthy as possible by exercising regularly, eating right, avoiding obesity, stop over-using alcohol and dangerous drugs, stop smoking, etc. The Unaffordable Care Act nightmare hasn’t hit full force yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

Wonder Why Healthcare Costs So Much in the U.S.?

Nathaniel Givens explains nearly all of it in a blog post.

Imagine if grocery shopping worked like health insurance.  Let’s call it “food insurance”.

First of all, you’d better hope that you’re not self-employed or unemployed. You see, way back in World War II the United States created strict wage controls as part of theStabilization Act of 1942. Since employers still wanted to compete for the best employees–even in wartime–they had to get creative. Instead of offering higher salaries (which was now illegal), they began to offer fringe benefits. The most important of these was healthcare insurance. Let’s pretend that food insurance started in the same way. That would mean that, today, if you get your food insurance through an employer-provided plan you not only get a nice tax advantage on your own premiums, but you can also rely on the employer to pay some of your costs as a matter of traditional expectations. But if you’re self-employed, you not only lose the tax-advantage, but also the ability to get the lower rates that come with buying insurance for bigger groups.

Now let’s imagine what actually shopping for groceries would look like.

One thing Nathaniel left out is the cost of our legal system, which is significant. Adopting the “English Rule” (loser pays legal fees) would be a major step in the right direction.

Read the rest.

Cheapest Obamacare Plan to Be $20,000 per Year

…according to a report at cnsnews.com.

Gee, that seems kind of expensive. Median U.S. household income in 2011 was only $50,000.