I’m watching the GOP debate in NH. So far, the candidates’ ideas to fix health care have included:
- Repeal Obamacare
- Allow purchase of health insurance over state lines
- De-couple health insurance from employment (How? Are employers going to be forced to continue paying for health insurance when someone loses their job? That will just make it ten times harder to get a new job…)
- Empower and expand Health Savings Accounts
Here’s the problem with all of the above ideas: cost. Health care itself is too expensive, which means insurance has to be expensive, too. So with the exception of allowing purchase of health insurance over state lines, most of the schemes above are the equivalent of playing musical chairs on the titanic. Health care is expensive because health care isn’t sold in a free market. You don’t purchase health care from private entities. No, you purchase health care from the health conglomerate – and they like to shut out new competition. The health conglomerate includes the FDA, the AMA, the US Patent Office, medical schools, state medical boards, and state-licensed medical professionals – all of whom have a vested interest to stop new medicines from reaching the marketplace, and to stop new small businesses from selling health care to consumers.
You want the cost of health care to drop? Then embrace the free market:
- Abolish the FDA’s control of the drug market (which takes 12 years to approve new drugs). Let the market test new drugs, instead of a bunch of bureaucrats who get it wrong time and time again, leading to some nasty side effects. If a drug hurts people, let consumers and their doctors choose whether or not to consume that drug, instead of a bunch of overpaid bureaucrats.
- Abolish federal and state support of the AMA’s rules and regulations. The AMA’s influence continues to protect monopoly rules in the medical marketplace, which reduces competition and greatly increases cost.
- Shorten patent protection from 20 years to 10 years for new medical goods and services (which is still a 2 year gain in sales if the company doesn’t have to wait 12 years for FDA approval)
- On a state-by-state basis, abolish the medical boards which require students to go to school for 7-15 years before acquiring a license to sell any medical goods or services. Let the market decide whether a given practitioner is helping people with the drugs and treatments they are prescribing, instead of state regulatory boards which have a vested interest in restricting the number of new doctors each year, so their own practices and friends’ practices don’t face new competition. I trust Yelp reviews far more than bureaucrats who have their own bank accounts in mind more than my best interest.
- Let people buy and sell drugs and treatments directly, without a licensed medical professional as the middle man. Once again, I trust consumer reviews for new drugs and treatments far more than the opinion of someone who went to school 10 years ago, and might even prescribe a drug or treatment in exchange for kickbacks.
- Put laws in place that protect medical practitioners from all lawsuits except in cases of gross negligence. These lawsuits often end in favor of the defendant, and cost millions per year. Once a patient signs on the line to purchase medical care, they need to accept the outcome, short of some gross negligence.
Unless and until we eliminate the requirement of 7-15 years of school to pass licensure to even enter the medical profession, and 12 years to bring a newly invented service or good to market, medical services will necessarily cost ten times any other comparable good or service in the marketplace.