Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Healthcare Problem in the USA

Let the providers and the users of healthcare work together

This post is just to keep it simple and lay-out the way to reform healthcare in the USA.

First off, there is a disconnect between doctors and people that need doctors, which is of course, everyone. Because 'insurance' is subsidized in the tax code (companies can write-off on taxes the health insurance they give their employees), we have too much insurance and therefore too much subsidized demand for those with insurance. Same thing with federal government medicare and medicaid. This means that third parties instead of the actual users of health services from doctors pay. This means that supply and demand doesn'twork to price health services. This means that health costs are 17% of the US economy and grow at 10% per year. The market doesn't work for health services because there is no market, there are government distortions preventing the market from working.

The solutions:

1) Remove tax breaks for company-sponsored health plans, this will create individual incentives for individuals, with their own unique health needs, to shop around for better and cheaper health services and for doctors to compete.

2) Remove regulatory policies which prevent insurance companies from offering plans nation-wide. State regulation prevents nation-wide competition, like always regulation gives monopoly profits to the regulated and increased costs to everyone else. If people want insurance let them buy insurance, but don't require it as this just puts a third-party barrier to individual incentives.

3) Reform the tort system so that 'loser pays' when frivolous lawsuits are brought against doctors, this will reduce malpractice insurance costs and allow doctors to reduce costs.

4) Phase-out medicaire and medicaid so that the government isn't in the way of individual incentives and doctor-patient relations. And too, this will reduce the ever-present fraud in government-provided goods, people do fraud when government is involved because it seems like it harms no one, when in fact it harms us all. Less government means a more ethical society because there are less incentives for fraud.

Simple as that. If the politicians reform health care it'll just mean, as always, more special interests taking their cut through coercion. Coercion is not reform, it is coercion. There are lots of special interests at play in 'reform', real reform would remove anything that gets in the way of the doctor-patient relationship, and this would reduce costs, create more innovation and as a kicker create a more ethical and responsible society.