Health Care


In a piece entitled “How Donald Trump Could Fix Our Health-Care System While Cutting Our Taxes”, Michael F. Cannon, director of health-policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, lays out a plan to fix health insurance in four steps.

1 Fully repeal Obamacare: all spending, every mandate and regulation.

2 Replace Obamacare with health savings accounts (HSAs).

3 Let Americans purchase health insurance across state lines.

4 Let states manage Medicaid funds.

Details here.

Why is health insurance so expensive? Because government dictates what it must cover.

I pay almost 13 times more for health insurance then home insurance, and more than 5 times more for auto insurance than for health insurance.

Health insurance should have low monthly premiums, high deductibles, and Health Savings Accounts to pay for the out-of-pocket expenses on a pre-tax basis. This arrangement puts the patient in charge of the money instead of the government or insurance companies. That is how you get medical practitioners — from private doctor practices to big hospital complexes — to lower their costs and improve quality.

 

Finally! A health facility that will provide price quotes in advance of a procedure for healthcare services at their facilities. Jackson Health System has facilities located in the Miami, FL area. Link to quote page here. Their reason:

More and more insurance plans require out-of-pocket spending by the patient. Whether you have a deductible or coinsurance – or if you’re searching for healthcare services without insurance – Jackson wants to help you understand what you’ll pay for care. Today, patients do not have consistent access to quality, price, and service information when they are choosing a healthcare provider or considering treatment options. This price transparency service enables patients to make more informed choices.

Prices for medical services can vary significantly, even for the exact same procedure in the same area, with the same equipment. Jackson will empower you with information to make an informed decision about your care. Unlike traditional price estimators, which rely on averages, our service checks patients’ actual insurance information to provide highly accurate quotes based on their insurance plan design, deductibles, coinsurance, and more. This information will also be useful to patients who don’t have health insurance and want to research cash prices.

These quotes are for hospital fees only. Professional fees from doctors are a separate charge.

But still, its a step in the right direction towards price transparency that we, as consumers, enjoy with most other products and services we buy.

Biden’s plan is to streamline decisions made by the FDA, NIH and other government agencies to both speed up drug approvals and give patients the freedom to obtain the combination of medicines that works best for them. He wants to increase tax incentives and patent protection for private companies to partner with and invest in government cancer research.

That has potential. But then this:

Clinton wants a vast new bureaucracy that would delay and limit such choices.

Clinton is planning to use a series of executive actions to control the price of cancer drugs, how they are used and who will get them. There is nothing Congress or the courts can do, short of replacing ObamaCare, to change that.

She strongly supports a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services experiment to randomly pay some doctors a lower fee when they use more expensive drugs for cancer and other complex illnesses to see if it saves money.

And she’s proposing even more repression.

Here.

 

Libertarian Populism seems like a good idea with great potential. Considering the problems Niall Ferguson describes and the ongoing economic stagnation, its worth a shot.

Technocracy as discussed, is a top-down regime. It relies on experts. This Virginia Postrel editorial remains a good start to understanding technocracy.

The primary problem I have with Big Business is when it teams with Big Government to create a Big Ass that sits on me and smothers me. We get fewer choices for everything personal and economic, more government regulations, higher taxes, and more moralizing. One of the most pernicious effects of government regulations is that business gets blamed for these regulations, when in fact the senior employees of these firms are simply carrying out the orders from above, above being the politicians who make the rules. It is only the fault of business people to the extent they team with government/politicians to make these rules for their own benefit, either to stifle competition or to curry favor with a special interest. This is rent-seeking and it only occurs with government cooperation.

A major problem with health care is that government has been involved since the 1940’s with various regulations and programs. Conservatives and Republicans have praised the US “health care system as the greatest in the world”. They don’t know how clueless they sound. For something to be great it has to meet stringent criteria, whatever that something is. A health care system that provides abundant products and services but is too expensive, overpriced, and is available through employment or government programs like in the US is not great. It stinks. A great US industry is discretionary retail, meaning stuff we buy as consumers because we like them, not because we need them. Clothing is a necessity but after some point, 50 pairs of shoes becomes a choice. Yet, we have so many choices of shoes, shirts, pants, dresses, underwear, jeans, etc at a wide range of prices. Everybody can pretty much find what they want online or at a physical, brick-and-mortar store. Now that is great.

Speaking of health care, Dan Mitchell has a post about Dr. Michael Ciampi, a medical doctor in the state of Maine who stopped accepting all forms of health insurance. Dr. Ciampi “can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He can make house calls. . . . providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense. . . . I’ve been able to cut my prices in half because my overhead will be so much less,” he said. Before, Ciampi charged $160 for an office visit with an existing patient facing one or more complicated health problems. Now, he charges $75. Patients with an earache or strep throat can spend $300 at their local hospital emergency room, or promptly get an appointment at his office and pay $50.”

Now that’s bottom-up change I can embrace. Big Government have teamed with Big Medical — hospitals, insurance companies, pharma, AMA — to maintain the status quo. Health insurance is way over-priced, we should be able to buy insurance with the same kind of choices and price-points as the consumer discretionary industry I described above.

Both parties and so-called liberals and conservatives are to blame for the government dysfunction and economic stagnation.

“Managers for the U.K.’g government-run National Health Service are making patients wait longer than necessary for operations, with one claiming that treating them quickly “raises expectations.” In some areas, patients endured delays of 12 or 15 weeks after GPs decided they needed surgery, even though hospitals could have seen them sooner.”

Here.

A sympathetic mainstream reporter sends a message to the GOP on health care.

Republicans may have convinced the public that President Obama’s national health care law will make things worse, but they have yet to adequately explain how they’d make things better.
. . .
As the 2012 election year approaches, Republicans won’t be able to rely on the unpopularity of Obamacare to avoid articulating an alternative. Just because Americans are unnerved by Obama’s massive health care overhaul, that doesn’t mean they’d tolerate a return to the old status quo.

In every other aspect of their lives, Americans enjoy a vast array of choices, as businesses vigorously compete for their dollars. Yet the health care system doesn’t function anything like this.

Here. Between the Democrats’ government-run schemes and the Republicans’ defense of the status quo as a result of not proposing a compelling alternative, Americans remain frustrated or confused. I spoke to relatives and they think pre-Obamacare the US enjoyed a free market in health care. As Mr. Klein’s makes clear, that is not the case.

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