Leading policy-makers and scholars explain how market forces, deregulation, and consumer choice can work to improve health care for all Americans.


Commentary: Health Care: Beyond Markets
Washington Post, 11-11-04

This op-ed has a startling thesis: American health care is too awkward, expensive, and patchy because there is too little government oversight of health care markets and prices.

I doubt that any doctor who has ever tried to get reimbursement from Medicare would embrace that conclusion. Or a single male who paid for an expensive health insurance policy through his employer that included a mandated benefit for in vitro pregnancy services – along with the attendant extra cost – thanks to his state insurance commissioner. Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veteran’s Administration are riddled with tens of thousands of health care rules, regulations, and price caps, representing perhaps 44% of all health care dollars spent in the U.S.

According the author, “Americans face a one-in-six chance of exclusion from insurance coverage.” True, insurance coverage is a problem, but if you are Canadian you have about the same odds of not getting in to see your doctor or a specialist when you most need them. The average waiting time between seeing a primary care physician in Canada and a specialist is about 15 weeks – nearly 4 months.

We agree that the U.S. market is riddled with inefficiencies – not because it is a market, but because it is socialism with a market face, i.e. expenses are covered largely through third party payors who fund health care based on price, not quality. That, at least, the U.S. and Canada have in common.

Project FDA.
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