Thursday, July 15, 2010

Obama Healthcare may actually save the free market…

What? Are you crazy! This president despises the free market and is creating policies that are destroying the free market! You say… Well think about it carefully. Take healthcare for instance.

Living with a nurse for 25 years, you can imagine how many conversations we have had regarding healthcare. Me, a student of politics, and self proclaimed policy analyst, and my wife, have had many opportunities to discuss the impact of government intervention in healthcare. Here’s what I conclude.

Government control of healthcare will be a debacle because the government is incompetent (Medicare and Medicaid are already a debacle). The federal government is incompetent for these fundamental reasons; lack of accountability, hiring practices and policies, no profit motive, no connection to the consumer of the service, and imbedded unions that protect the incompetent employees that are all too common in government agencies.

Healthcare is personal and therefore extremely emotional. If we combine this with the reasons government is incompetent we have a recipe for disaster. That is why the only way to save the quality and access to healthcare is a free market model. And the Obama policies are driving the free market solution. These policy wonks don’t realize it yet, but America will not accept rationing or subpar medical services, and will do whatever necessary to get quality medical care. They have seen what the system can be, and the American people will never be convinced they can’t have it again. And that is why the free market will undoubtedly emerge just like it has in every country that has socialized medicine. As long as people have money to pay for private services they will. That’s a fact socialists don’t understand! So, here is what is happening in healthcare already that will save the free market.

Doctor pay is being cut by Medicare and Medicaid. These payments have not kept up with inflation and more and more doctors are refusing Medicare and Medicaid patients. Private insurance payments are based on the Medicare rate schedule so again doctors are finding it harder and harder to get market value for their services. Place this fact on top of the cost of medical school and missed opportunity costs based on the many years it takes to become a doctor, and you create an environment that incents early retirement and discourages new doctors from entering the profession. The current conditions and future concerns in the healthcare market are increasing doctor retirements and reducing the number of doctors entering the field, creating less supply while the demand is guaranteed to increase with the perception of “free” government healthcare.

In conversations with healthcare professionals what you are starting to hear more loudly than ever is private pay and free market principles as the solution. More and more doctors are starting to refuse private and government insurance programs and taking cash payment or creating their own payment plans through their practice. The more these doctors opt out of insurance the bigger the private pay market will become. In the end it will mean better care for patients at the market cost of services. As this happens more and more students will again consider the investment to become a doctor a good one.

Doctors will be able to influence change based on the demand for their services, and I predict as doctors become scarce, large corporations, and pools of small businesses will begin to hire private doctors to provide healthcare for their employees. Doctors no longer will have to be administrators and can focus on care while making a healthy paycheck. Corporations will eliminate the huge headache of administering multiple insurance plans and will be able to customize more affordable and accessible healthcare for their employees. Combine the rejection of private and government insurance with a demand from business to take care of their employees, and the government will be forced to yield control.

In conclusion, the private business of healthcare is going to thrive because of the burdens and incompetence that is occurring through bloated government and private health insurance bureaucracies. The free market will find a way to survive. Healthcare is too important and personal to leave to government or large insurance bureaucracies. The only solution left is the free market. There is nowhere else this industry can go. It has been over regulated for too long and is at a breaking point. The only way the United States healthcare “system” can survive is in a free market, entrepreneurial environment where people are free to go to doctors and pay a fare rate for the services. Insurance and government have become too expensive.

In the end, people will realize that the free market is the best answer to a healthy economic future and will re-embrace this foundational principle of our country…

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