Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Myth of the Free-Market American Health Care System

This article expresses something that I have long known to be true. Funny how people think that we need government intervention in the health care market because the free market has failed. Really? No, we haven't even tried the free market!

Check out this article from The Atlantic:
"The Myth of the Free-Market American Health Care System"
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/03/the-myth-of-the-free-market-american-health-care-system/254210/

The article essentially points out that conservatives have been painted into the corner of defending the status quo. This is a strategic error. The correct play is to point out that we have suffered through government intervention for many years, and that is why costs keep rising! After all, in true free markets (think Lasik eye surgery) costs keep falling.

The article discusses Switzerland. If government is to be involved, better to give people subsidies (scaled by income) and let them make their decisions independently. Government support but free market incentives.

Singapore, too, has a good healthcare system. Singapore forces its citizens to have health saving accounts. I don't like that they are forced to have them, but I do think that health savings accounts are a very good idea (I have one).

From the article:
"Why does this system work so well? Because it incorporates the central idea behind free-market health care: that health-care spending is most efficient when that spending is executed by individual patients, rather than third parties. It's easy to waste other people's money. But if that money is your own, you are going to try your best to spend it wisely."

Amen to that.