Health care and insurance costs will plummet if excess regulation is eliminated and malpractice awards are made only when a medical practitioner has committed actual negligence or malpractice. Courts today often impose malpractice penalties on physicians who have done nothing wrong so that patients can access the “deep pockets” of insurers. The result has been skyrocketing premiums for doctors, driving up prices and causing many practitioners to abandon high-risk specialties such as obstetrics. Studies estimate that this practice, which encourages doctors to practice “defensive medicine,” increases the cost of health care as much as 10%.
America once had the best health care system imaginable. As recently as the 1960s, low-cost health insurance was available to virtually everyone in America — including people with existing medical problems. Doctors made house calls. A hospital stay cost only a few days’ pay. Charity hospitals were available to take care of families who could not afford to pay for healthcare.
Then power-hungry politicians decided to move in and get the federal government to fix a problem that did not exist. In effect, they had the federal government break your legs, then hand you a pair of crutches and say, “See, if it weren’t for the government you would not be able to walk.”
Today, health care costs are soaring. Health insurance premiums reflect these increases, making coverage unaffordable, for both individuals and businesses. If these trends continue, few people will have access to state-of-the art health care. Democrats and Republicans blame the “free market,” but in reality the free market does not exist in health care. Establishment politicians don’t have a solution to the health care crisis because they either ignore or won’t admit what is causing the problem – government regulation.
“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
Costs are high because of the excessive regulation in virtually every aspect of health care. The truth is that Republicans and Democrats don’t want Americans to know is that the supposed health care crisis is not health care at all; it is a monetary crisis caused by unwarranted, unnecessary, and ill-advised government intervention and regulation that has driven up cost.
All of the pretended “solutions” to the “problem” are merely cost-shifting measures which will only serve to exacerbate the problem and are doomed to fail. As the “baby boomers” age, their medical needs will dwarf the capacity of the next generation to pay for them. Health care rationing will be the inevitable result, as Canada, Britain, and other nations that have turned to tax-supported “universal care” are discovering. While these nations are turning toward market-based reforms to save themselves, our politicians seem determined to repeat their mistakes.
Excessive regulation has driven up the cost of new drugs. As a consequence, less than half of new pharmaceutical discoveries can be developed. Fewer new drugs translate into higher health care costs, since it costs less to take even expensive medication compared to surgery and hospitalization.
Excessive regulation also drives up the cost of training physicians, who must then raise their fees accordingly. Just as the high cost of pharmaceutical regulation results in fewer medications, the high cost of gaining a medical license means fewer doctors, so patients must often wait weeks for an appointment.
Government regulation of medical schools have resulted in a homogenized physician training system which neglects and often discourages the teaching of cost-saving approaches to health care such as disease prevention, nutrition, and alternative therapies.
Government-mandates burden physicians and their staff with mountains of paperwork. Medicare and Medicaid not only come with an additional layer of busy-work for already over-extended physicians, but also carry the threat of criminal penalties for clerical mistakes. As a result, an increasing number of doctors are refusing to treat patients with government “insurance” to avoid the red tape, late payments, poor compensation — and the potential of a jail sentence — that have become a hallmark of these programs.
Most states mandate what medical insurance must cover, making everyone buy an expensive “one-size-fits-all” policy instead of one tailored to their needs and budget. Consequently, fewer people can afford insurance at all.
Taxpayers will save as much as they are now spending on Medicare/Medicaid when they no longer have to fund this destructive bureaucracy. Tax credits can then be extended to any person or organization funding Health Savings Accounts for themselves or others. With such tax incentives to aid in charitable gifting, Medicare or Medicaid recipients can transition into their choice of private health insurance, allowing rapid privatization of these programs.
There are three basic components for restoring and reviving a true free-market health care system that actually saves lives.
1. Establish Medical Saving Accounts. Under this program, you could deposit tax-free money into a Medical Savings Account. Whenever you need the money to pay medical bills, you will be able to withdraw it. For individuals without an MSA, any healthcare expenditures should be 100 percent tax deductible.
2. Deregulate the healthcare industry. Repeal all government policies that increase health costs and decrease the availability of medical services. For example, every state has laws that mandate coverage of specific disabilities and diseases. These laws reduce consumer choice and increase the cost of health insurance. By making insurance more expensive, mandated benefits increase the number of uninsured American workers.
3. Remove barriers to safe, affordable medicines. Replace harmful government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration with more agile, free-market alternatives. The mission of the FDA is to protect us from unsafe medicines. However, the FDA has so overreacted that it has driven up healthcare costs instead and deprived millions of Americans of life-saving treatments.
With such reforms, health care costs will be almost universally affordable. Generous tax credits, made possible by downsizing the regulatory bureaucracy, will spur charitable donors to take care of the medically needy. Health care will once again be affordable and available without rationing care, thwarting innovation, or leaving Americans to die prematurely.