GARY WOLFRAM: Private Health Care Would Be Less Expensive for All.
It is important to realize the current system is not particularly market-based. The Affordable Care Act imposes thousands of pages of regulation, and the federal government is the largest purchaser of health care. It spends over $1 trillion on Medicare and Medicaid alone. No wonder other countries have better health outcomes.
A quick look at how well veterans and Medicaid recipients fare under government health care might cause you to think twice about adopting Senator Sanders’s plan. Only about 70 percent of physicians will accept Medicaid patients.
What’s more, government insurance has led to inefficiencies in the use of resources in health care due to the incentives of the system. Since the patient will ask if Medicare or Medicaid pays for the service rather than how much the service costs, providers have a strong incentive to engage in activities that are very costly and only marginally advance patient health, but that will be paid for by the government.
A solution much more likely to aid the poor is for the government to move Medicaid and Medicare to a form of health savings account. It would provide complete coverage for catastrophic care, and fund an account for recipients that they could use on health care spending. This would cause people to ask “How much does that test cost here versus another clinic?” This in turn would incentivize places like Wal-Mart having to employ nurse practitioners at their pharmacy who can provide health care at reasonable prices. Additionally, it would also spur innovation in medical techniques and pharmaceuticals that make people healthier at lower costs.
Well, yes. But if Walmart gets people healthy, then how will politicians take the credit for spending even more of other people’s money on a pretense of solving a spending problem they created?
And don’t forget about the opportunities for graft, even if the DNC-Media Complex would rather you did.