home Congress, Current Events, Democrats, healthcare, news, Republicans, United States Putting the Market Back in Health Care Reform

Putting the Market Back in Health Care Reform

Do you sense something is missing from the healthcare debate in the United States?  This is off-topic for the web site, I am no expert in this area.  Yet, both Democrats and Republicans seem to be going back and forth, arguing the merits of a system that they seem to know little about.  Where is the common sense?  Why a rush to embrace, or negotiate in the case of Republicans, any government involvement at all?

Most Americans take better care of their cars and homes than they human body.  We take our cars for regular oil changes and tune-ups.  And for some, a car wash is like a religion.   Our homes, rightly so, need a great deal of maintenance and care on an ongoing basis.  Paint, plumbing, gardening, etc.  We do not give these things a second though and pay for it, and here is the important part, out of pocket.  Car insurance and home owners insurance are for accidents.  And, in some cases, it makes more sense to pay out of pocket for some accidents than to bring in the insurance companies.

We know how how to pay for an oil and lube job for our car, but no clue how much a colonoscopy costs. Why can’t healthcare be more like taking care of a car or a home?  I know how much a tune up will cost, but no idea how much a doctor will charge for a routine physical.  A care tune up will show what needs changing and what can wait (and the cost); there is no such comparable service approach that I know of for hospitals, doctors, or speciality medical centers (i.e., imaging services).

Americans are concerned about healthcare reform, but we really have no idea where the problems are because we have no baseline. For decades DC-based approaches run by Congress, the Executive, and lobbyists have concocted approaches that include wasteful government involvement.  Consumers are no better prepared to shop for healthcare because of it, quite the opposite.

Ideally, someone in the private sector should step up and offer a market-based approach to making American healthcare even more affordable and accessible to more Americans (and foreigners and anyone else if they want to pay for it).   They should begin by telling us – the consumers – what these medical services cost and let us shop around for the best deals.  My former boss used to advocate a “Consumer Reports” for health care – an idea that is long overdue.

A majority of Americans want solutions that keeps the government away from our homes, our families, and, yes, our medical care. American companies need to step up, tell the government to butt out, and offer market-based solutions for healthcare.  Meanwhile, someone the Congress needs to do the same and start steering this so-called “debate” away from government involvement in healthcare.

Finally, all this talk of “reform” but no one has been able to articulate what is truly broken.  This should be a very clear indication that this recent wave of “reform” is more about social engineering than it is fixing something that is broken.  It is seems almost a fait accompli that whatever passes in the next few weeks will involve the government; hopefully the summer town hall meetings will knock some sense into folks.

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