Health Care Proposals: More Recipes for Disaster
John (Allison): I read the arhticles on health care in the "Forum" Sunday -- and am sure you did also. I just kept shaking my head.
What the "Forum" badly needs is a health care economics article by Dr. David Gratzer, author of The Cure. He practices medicine in Canada and the U.S.
The problem with the (Gov.) Rendell Plan and nearly every other "progressive" approach to reducing the number of uninsured is this: when you pour more money and patients into what's essentially a closed system (one with a fixed number of medical people and hospitals, basically an oligopoly), you do two things: (1) raise the costs; (2) increase the length of the lines of people waiting for treatment.
It's a version of what happens in South America when governments "solve" their economic probllems by printing more money. People are happy for a week or so, and then the cost of everything goes through the roof.
So, you print still more money. Then, as prices syrocket, you insitute price controls, which mean that everybody has a lot of "funny money," but the supply of goods -- from health care to toilet paper -- dries up.
In American health care, therer are signs of hope, one of them surprisingly being Medicare Plan D. So that I would avoid hitting the coverage limit (the "doughnut hole") I experimented with shifting from a drug that cost $160.00 a month (Avandia, for adult diabetes) to a drug that costs $4.00 a month (at Wal-Mart) -- Metformin. Guess what, the Metformin does the trick.
Aha, I just solved a big chunk of the health care problem. It's called capitalism!
Hillary Clinton is planning "Rendell-Care" on a national scale. If she's "lucky," she won't bankrupt the nation until shortly before the end of her second term.
The answer is to give people information and allow them to make intelligent choices about health care. Government support should go only to those who truly need it, and they should get a maximum amount of freedom in making their own decisions about treatment. Those steps would reduce costs and improve the overall quality of the products (health care) people receive, something that occurs in every other segment of our economy.
Yes, it's all that simple. No, I don't want a Pulitzer Prize for my insights.
But I do wish you'd pass this along to your successor at the "Forum," and I hope he'll engage the writing and thinking skills of Dr. Gratzer. In lieu of Gratzer, if he's unavailable, choose me.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'll have another piece on "The Old Conservatism"