Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Few Thoughts on Health Care

Health care is a service industry.

A patient receives a service in exchange for monetary compensation.

It’s a lot like the service a dry cleaner, a grocery store, or auto mechanic may provide.

From the time we were kids, most of us heard that a consumer must know the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. It seems now that our modern society is so accustomed to the instant gratification of their ‘wants’, that they think it is up to someone else to provide for their ‘needs’.

Somewhere along the line companies began offering health insurance as a benefit to attract a competitive workforce, just as some companies offer benefits like a gym membership or a town car.

I might wish that had never happened, because it leads us to where we are now, and yet I would not wish to interfere with the compensation that a business chooses to pay it’s employees.

But here we are in 2009, and because people have sought employers that provide this valuable perk, now many think it is the government’s place to provide health care for those who do not have it. Employment also provides you the cash to by food. Is that now the responsibility of the government? You might say it is, in the form of food stamps. I would reply that both health care and food may be provided in an emergency, as a safety net, but the amount given and the time frame served should be limited in order to encourage a return to the individual or family providing for themselves.

Let’s look at it from the point of view of the health care professional.

Here you may have a youth who studied while the other teens were out having fun. A young adult who continued in medical school while their peers were finishing their schooling and embarking on careers. A man or woman who’s young family sacrificed financially during residency…..All with the plan that his investment of time and effort will pay off someday when his expertise earns him a good living.

Government control of the health care industry meddles with this plan, changing the rules on the healthcare worker once he has already invested his time and energy. The more the government is involved, the more restrictions there will be on the medical professionals, causing good doctors with other prospects to leave the field, and discouraging others from seeking that path.

Government involvement in any market introduces escalating inefficiency. And as much as we like to think of health care in an altruistic way, it is still a service that must be done by someone, and like any market, will always be subject to inefficiency in direct proportion to the government involvement forced upon it.


1 comment:

  1. And if you, like the overwhelming majority of Americans, are happy with your current insurance through your employer - hang on to your hat!
    Why should an employer continue to offer this benefit once the government starts to compete with private insurers?
    The big secret (not so secret actually) is that all the major companies out there are big supporters of this medical "reform" - because it allows them to avoid those costs.

    The number one factor driving medical and insurance costs today IS THE GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT!!!
    Because Medicare is such a huge business, their formulary has a direct impact on the drugs that make it on to the market for anyone. If Medicare won't cover it, chances are good you'll never see it even if you have private insurance.
    Because states so heavily regulate what plans insurers are allowed to sell in their state, this has driven out the option of a truly catastrophic, high deductible policy (what used to be called "Major Medical" plans) that are such a good choice for young and normally healthy people.
    If you like the Post Office, $5000 hammers, and what you hear about the VA medical system, then good news. You're in for a real treat.