Whenever you ask a bloviating moron like Nancy Pelosi about her patron saint Barack Obama’s utter failure in the implementation of what is now popularly known as Obamacare, as did David Gregory on Meet the Press, she changes the subject. She talks about the “uninsured” the bill was intended to cover.
Here’s the problem.
Insurance isn’t the answer. It never was, and it never will be. Only people who do not understand basic economics think that it is.
Insurance, in fact, is one of the reasons that healthcare is no longer affordable for the average family.
You cannot make healthcare affordable by simply insuring everybody. In fact, it has the opposite effect. Having a deep pocketed insurer only causes costs to go up.
And, in the final analysis, the so-called Affordable Care Act is about everything BUT affordability.
Yes, the Democrats own this colossal screw-up; but the Republicans have not exactly covered themselves with glory, either. Instead of putting forth better ideas, they just sniped at the Democrats.
That vacuum allowed complete idiots like Pelosi and her fellow dog sled Harry Reid (I actually don’t mean to insult sled dogs) to go to the lobbyists for the big insurers, the drug companies, and the hospitals and say, write us a bill. In short, they wanted health care reform in the worst way, and they got it.
Here’s an idea: If you want healthcare to be widely available and affordable, why not incentivize providers to do exactly that?
Take drug manufacturers, as an example.
We have plenty of best-selling wonder-drugs that can best be described as “lifestyle” drugs like Viagra, Cialis, etc. But we can’t seem to cure cancer or AIDS. Why? Well, if I had to apply the basic laws of economics to the problem, I’d guess that there’s more money in finding a cure for cancer and AIDS than in selling the drugs which, after being invented, would actually eradicate the diseases. The vaccine market is a low margin commodity market.
If you don’t believe it, look at polio. It was eradicated when I was a kid during the Eisenhower Administration. How much money do the drug companies make selling the vaccine today? Not nearly as much as they make with Viagra.
I remember being in a room with the Oral Roberts University basketball team and their coach—the late Ken Trickey—when Magic Johnson announced his abrupt retirement from the game because he had been diagnosed with the hiv virus. One young player asked Coach Trickey when he thought there would be a cure for AIDS. Trickey said, “when the research money runs out.” Solid wisdom from a coach.
So try this:
You want government involvement in healthcare? Okay, how about the Federal Government offers a $1-billion prize for the first company, consortium, or individual who finds a cure for cancer? Like the Xprize foundation offered $10-million for the first civilian spacecraft capable of carrying three people to 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface twice within two weeks. That worked, and we now have a civilian spaceflight industry at a fraction of the cost NASA would have spent.
I like the idea of private foundations offering such prizes; and I especially like the idea of guys like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and others making the rules. They know, infinitely more than any government, how to get results.
But I have no problem if the money for such prizes comes from tax dollars in addition to philanthropy. Everybody should have some skin in the game.
How about a $100-million prize for the first company, consortium, or individual who develops a concierge medical program to replace health insurance for middle class individuals at a price people can actually afford. Say $100 a month. Or $50 a month.
Maybe a similar prize for the first company, consortium, or individual who comes up with a workable blanket catastrophic insurance policy for members of such a concierge system.
Why does the government need to turn to the people who have essentially failed the goals that we all probably have in common?
Health insurance works by spreading the risk. In the case of Obamacare, it is socialism run by capitalists with the imprimatur of the government. That necessarily means that from an economic standpoint, you have to control the risk pool, or you have the taxpayers picking up the tab. Many politicians simply don’t care because they’ll be way out of office before $17-Trillion in debt comes due.
What if, instead of forcing everybody into the same risk pool and using tax dollars to pay for it when it doesn’t work (Obamacare), you could actually reduce the risk by actually bringing down the costs?
The answer isn’t in bigger and better insurance. It’s in better and cheaper healthcare.
That’s not as easy as just passing a law. But, to quote the late John F. Kennedy:
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard.”
This is a nation founded on big ideas and big principles.
And now, we need to start acting like we actually paid attention in sixth grade civics.
Photo credit: terrellaftermath