Let me highlight the issues surrounding Healthcare.
- Free Market Healthcare vs Socialize Healthcare. The healthcare is has a fatal flaw that is universal – there is more sickness in the world than the system is capable of handling. As there are more people to serve, the system has to either expand, or some people are going to die due the limitations of system (outside those that cannot be helped). Consequently, the healthcare system is limited. As for the current healthcare debate, this now becomes how do you ration healthcare? The system is limited. So, there must be a system in place to ration healthcare. Free Market Healthcare – serve those who can afford it and hope for the best for everyone else. Socialize Healthcare – serve everyone although that might mean reduced level of service. It doesn’t matter which way you cut the fat, that fat still needs to get cut. The question is, “which system sounds better to you?’ With Free Market Healthcare, people die because they cannot afford coverage or can’t pay for procedures, etc. Socialized system may cause people to die because they are having to wait to get served. So, now you understand the part of the underlying dilemma. Those who can afford their insurance don’t want to pay for someone else. Neither do they want to have their service diminished in any way. On the other hand, should people die because they can afford the “out the ceiling” cost for various medical issues? On top of all that, the government has to subsidies the drug and insurance companies in either case! The real problem is capacity. But, that is a different conversation. (For info on the philosophy behind limited resources, read Thomas Malthus – Theory of Gluts).
- Reducing Cost. Because Healthcare is unlike any other industry, it has very unique dilemmas. The Doctor is the expert which means he can tell you anything with regards to the medical need and cost. On the other hand, the insurance company is responsible for paying the expense although they are in business to make a profit (what sense does that make). Same thing goes for the drug company, they are in the business of saving lives but have an interest in making you dependent on them. How can you reduce the cost of care when NO ONE IN THE FINANCIAL EQUATION HAS ANY MOTIVATION TO HEAL YOU OR REDUCE COST??? That leaves us with the Government. If the loudest voice or contributor to our representatives are any of the three other players in the equation, you cannot expect them to do the right thing. In general, the Government is the only stakeholder in the game that has a motivation to fix the system – lower healthcare cost translates into less taxes needed. No one wants to see higher taxes. So, some how we need to reduce cost and find a way to manage the responsibility for the patient versus financial motivations.
In the end, all the parts of the Healthcare debate are centered around these to basic concepts. If we can solve these two problems, we can solve the Healthcare issue.
The biggest component to this problem is capacity. We need more doctors, more hospitals, more machines, etc. The medical demand is clearly apparent. The supply for medical resources is what is lacking tremendously. If the supply of medical resources were greater, competition amoung those resources would help reduce cost. Increasing private sector competition is one the greatest ways to protect the public against greed from any medical related industries. When there is healthy competition in the system, all suppliers must provide the best products and services for consumers or the consumers will go elsewhere. Competition and capacity building is the key to the whole solution. If you are going to give healthcare to everyone, you have to ensure that the level of care is not reduced for anyone! This is the only way to make everyone happy. To do this, the supply of Medical Resource has to be greater and outpace the demand for those resources. Otherwise, the system will then have to pick and choose who to serve.
It should also make sense that the Government should put its resources and financial efforts arounds increasing capacity. Help generate more doctors, more insurance companies, more drug companies, etc. Again, competition is our greatest friend. Our society thrieves when there is greater competition. Case in point, the industries that are struggling the most are the ones that have the least amount of competition (i.e. automotive, airlines, insurance, etc.). This is the key to helping the American economy rebound. In the end, the taxpayer will appreciate this forward thinking approach versus applying a band-aid to everything approach.