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Free-Market Health Care

Why not use it?

Related Topic Years Ago Now
Economy Local economy.
Automatically simple economics.
National/global economy.
Need to keep things simple.
Health
Conditions
Limited impact on others.
Confined to a specific area.
Higher density populations.
Higher potential for catastrophic impact.
Technology Relatively simple
tools and procedures.
Relatively low cost.
Advanced technology.
Sophisticated medical advancements.
Very high cost.

 

In between "years ago" and "now" we had a failed experience in having a greater emphasis on the use of free-market "solutions", such as the implementation of "managed care" and health maintenance organizations (HMO's). That dramatic failure, including the failure of the U.S. Congress to take the needed action, is explained below.

 



1700's - 1800's

We had free-market health care many years ago, such as in the late 1700's and early 1800's.

Local economy. In the days of pioneering in the wilderness, payment included the possibility of bartering: payment sometimes occurred by food and/or services. There was an inter-dependency within a society of smaller towns and communities.

Health conditions with a limited impact. When someone got sick years ago, the impact on the health of others tended to be confined to a more specific population.

Limited technology. Health care was relatively simple at a lower cost.

 


 

The Dramatic Failure Starting in the 1970s ...
when the free-market had its chance to prove itself.

Failure of our expansion of free-market health care. The United States expanded the use of the free-market "solutions" in the 1970's. That was about the time when almost all other free-market countries had completed their implementations of health care for all. The dramatic failure of free-market health care in the United States in a globally-competitive environment is clear:

Dramatic failures of the U.S. Congress to take action.

In parallel with the time-lines of the above two graphs the United States Congress failed eight times within seven decades to do what all other free-market countries did: implement a health-care-for-all system.

This failure of the United States’ Congress occurred even though the Congress was provided with multiple reports that gave clear guidance on what to do, such as these two examples:

— The Congress’ own budget office provide a report that single-payer health care, improved Medicare for All, makes economic sense (1991). Report T-HRD-91-35 is available from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Do a search for it or go directly to the archived report (pdf)

— The Congress’ was given clear feedback from American citizens that we want it (2006). As per the report submitted to Congress, Americans expressed overwhelming support in a series of special meetings held across the country that were initiated by Congress.


Now

Free-market health care no longer applies. It's time for globally-competitive health care. The situation has changed dramatically.

National economy. Those times of bartering are generally in the past, no longer practical for the 21st century. That makes the need for simplicity in payment of health care a critical topic. We need the payment system to be efficient and effective.

Global competition. Efficiency in the way we pay for health care is now more critical than ever regarding global competition.

Two examples:

— We must be competitive in the new world of medical tourism.

— The U.S. cost per person has been so bad for so many years with the United States not having taken any significant action to solve the problem. During the last three decades a major factor for our loss of jobs has been companies looking for lower cost of operations in countries that can manage their costs, which include health care costs. It is time for the United States to become more competitive.

Health conditions with a potentially catastrophic impact. Our society is much different than it was even 50 years ago. We have far more people. Our lives have a different type of inter-connection with each other from the standpoint of degree of exposure to others. We have much higher density populations. Our actions and our condition of health can potentially have a great impact on others. This is especially true in the topic of health and critically true in the topic of health crisis, such as the H1N1 flu which was announced in July 2009 as starting to spread dramatically.

Advances in technology and medicine. Technology and medical advancements have driven costs up to the point that only the very rich or those able to pay for the best insurance can withstand the fiancial burden of a major medical event. Even 50 years ago we didn't have the high tech medical equipment and diagnostic tools of today that are so extremely expensive.


 

It's Time to Change

What action to take. The main action to take is to move from complexity to simplicity in how we pay for health care.

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