Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Free Market proposal for healthcare

I think my doctor does a good job.
I think his nurse practitioners do a good job. The other nurses who work there seem competent.

I like my insurance company. I think most insurance companies do a good job, the notable exception being Anthem Health.


(Please allow me a brief digression while I do something to attract Googlers..... Anthem Health Worst Insurance Company. Anthem Health Ripoff. Warnings Against Anthem Health. Anthem Health Sucks. Anthem Health Poor Quality Insurance. Anthem Health delays paying claims.) There. I feel better now.

Why does Washington want to interfere in the relationship between my doctor and me? Because they don't have enough control over it. Most people want wealth; people in Washington generally want power - a subject for another post.

I would prefer a single-payer system. I pay a doctor.

The most disheartening thing about the current healthcare debate is the lack of Free Market proposals like this one:

Flood the market with healthcare. (I work in the shipping, logistics and freight industry, and that qualifies me to comment on these issues. I also know what happened to prices when shipping, telephones and airlines were deregulated.)


Why are things expensive? Because they are scarce.


Why are doctors scarce? Ask the American Medical Association. If you control the supply of something, you control its price. As long as medical schools don't turn out too many doctors, healthcare will be expensive.

Next question.... Have you ever met a nurse who didn't believe she/he could do 90% of what doctors do? I haven't.


So why can't someone voluntarily go to a nurse for treatment? Or for that matter, why can't someone go to a neighbor who has done a little reading on the subject? Once again, ask the American Medical Association. They limit the supply of people approved to do the job. They put all those regulations in place for your own good, you know. A comparison of savings accounts might also reveal that they're making more money than you.


What about drugs? Ha! Talk to a pharmaceutical rep. By the time a medication is certified, licensed, pedigreed, registered, lawyer-proofed and put through trials, the pharmaceutical companies have spent somewhere around a billion dollars in development. Is there anyone out there economically illiterate enough to state that this expense doesn't stifle the development of new drugs?


What would happen to the cost of healthcare if we simply opened the doors for more practitioners? If I have the flu, I know going into the doctor's office that I'm going to leave with a prescription for Ampicillin and a warning that I need to lose some weight. Is there a nurse out there who could do the same job in less time for about twenty bucks?


Yes. If you choose not to visit this nurse, that's your choice. I am the owner of me. You are the owner of you.


Doctors whine and moan about the high cost of malpractice insurance. What would happen to the cost of medical care if patients were given a lower-cost option in exchange for signing an "I won't sue the doctor" waiver?


The internet (and I assume TV and newspapers) has been abuzz with editorializing about healthcare being a "right". Maybe it is, but there are different ways of stating this right. I believe that I have the right to make my own decisions about medical care. If those decisions involve University of Texas M.D.'s, Homeopathic remedies, Santeria goat sacrifices, or even something as risky as a V.A. hospital, the choice should be mine.


But, you ask, what if something goes wrong? What if there are bad nurses, bad drugs, or ineffective Santeria priests? What will we do if we're not all in the nurturing bosom of Uncle Sam?


We will do this:


Avoid Anthem Health. Anthem Health's computer system BLOWS. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR ANTHEM HEALTH.


I think the savings would be enormous.


Pics from here and from this guy who also had issues with Anthem Health.

7 comments:

Flee said...

If I have the flu, I know going into the doctor's office that I'm going to leave with a prescription for Ampicillin and a warning that I need to lose some weight. Is there a nurse out there who could do the same job in less time for about twenty bucks?

Shame on you! If you have the flu you should stay home, ampicillin does nothing for viruses but make them resistant to antibiotics! Please, if you have to sneeze or cough use your shoulder and not your hands!

I hope you never have to use your health insurance for a serious condition. Watch out for those pre-existing conditions too! Spending 47 cents of every health care dollar on advertising, lobbiests, campaign donations, and CEO bonuses is not fiscally responsible.

The Impact of Rising Health Care Costs

National surveys show that the primary reason people are uninsured is the high cost of health insurance coverage.2
Economists have found that rising health care costs correlate to drops in health insurance coverage.8
A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance. In addition, the study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses.9 Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.
A new survey shows that more than 25 percent said that housing problems resulted from medical debt, including the inability to make rent or mortgage payments and the development of bad credit ratings.10
About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs. 11
A survey of Iowa consumers found that in order to cope with rising health insurance costs, 86 percent said they had cut back on how much they could save, and 44 percent said that they have cut back on food and heating expenses.12
Retiring elderly couples will need $250,000 in savings just to pay for the most basic medical coverage.13 Many experts believe that this figure is conservative and that $300,000 may be a more realistic number.
According to a recent report, the United States has $480 billion in excess spending each year in comparison to Western European nations that have universal health insurance coverage. The costs are mainly associated with excess administrative costs and poorer quality of care.14
The United States spends six times more per capita on the administration of the health care system than its peer Western European nations.14

http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml

What's Not To Like?
http://www.newsweek.com/id/209817

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Flee,
with your advice about ampicillin, you may have gotten yourself into trouble (in some jurisdictions) for the unauthorized practice of medicine.
I hope they don't find you, and I'm sorry I got you into this mess.
Good luck, and God bless,

-TWS

Flee said...

I've been known to recommend motrin and a wrist brace for corpral tunnel too! When you can't afford to use the insurance after you've paid for it what can you do? I'm still hoping that I never have the trip and fall I told my Dr about at a physical in 2005 come back to haunt me!

libertarianlady said...

TWS,
Don't be too hard on Flee. The one thing she is absolutely correct about is staying home with the flu.

Pre-existing conditions are a non-issue if you have continuous coverage. People do not lose their homes to foreclosure due to medical costs alone. (States like TX don't even allow a lien on your home for unpaid bills to start with.) If the average OOP med. debt for the bankruptcy filer is $12k, they are some dumb ass people. Most attorneys would (should?) advise that BK is a silly option for $12k of debt. Housing problems due to medical debt? Pfft... If you already have a home then the black mark on your FICA score can't hurt you and you should make your mortgage pmnt while paying medical providers (who don't charge interest FWIW).

Great post and thanks.

A doc's wife who used to be in the financial end of medicine.

KARMINA said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Susan

http://ovarianpain.net

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Libertarian Lady,
Thanks for commenting. Your reputation precedes you.
Flee and I go back and forth like this at least once a week.

Cedric Katesby said...

What if something goes wrong? What if there are bad nurses, bad drugs, or ineffective Santeria priests? What will we do if we're not all in the nurturing bosom of Uncle Sam?

We will do this:
Avoid Anthem Health. Anthem Health's computer system BLOWS. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR ANTHEM HEALTH.

I think the savings would be enormous.



Allen, putting up warnings on the Internet will not protect people.
This is not idle speculation.
I'm talking about the current state of medical ignorance amongst the public in Western society.
People already have access to vital information on the Internet about how bad useless cures and quacks are.
Heck, you could even produce a high-quality BBC TV documentary that focuses on just one brand of quackery....and you will not even make a dent in the quack's sales.
Those kinds of warnings are mostly ineffective.
They don't protect nearly enough people.

The medical quackery industry earns billions of dollars every year.
People end up dead because of this kind of thing.
The products have changed since then. The thinking has not.

Before you go off and buy an over-the-counter cure for cancer, please check out
quackwatch.com
.
I highly recommend it.
Here's a few sample articles from the site.
Health Freedom

Vulnerability to Quackery

Why Quackery Persists

Testimony against the
Access to Medical Treatment Act


A Lifelong Victim

Sorry about all the links but people need to be protected from predators.