March 21, 2017

Making Health Care Great Again

Count me as a supporter of the ACHA Bill scheduled for a vote on Thursday. Not because it's a good bill, but because I'm an optimist and because I trust Speaker Ryan when he insists that he and President Trump will achieve a healthcare free-market in a three-step process. If they really do pull that off, we can have something like this:

So what explains the vastly different trends in prices over the past two decades?

As Perry notes, the chief difference between the two is who pays.

Cosmetic surgery is, for the most part, paid out of pocket. But only about 11% of hospital, doctor and pharmaceutical bills are paid out of pocket. The rest is picked up by insurance companies or the government. Back in 1960, almost half of the nation's health care bill was paid out of pocket, according to the Centers for Medicaid Services.

What happened in between was the steady growth in the scope and generosity of health benefits at work, and the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in the public sector. These developments are always treated as big victories for consumers, but as Perry notes, there's a huge price to be paid.

"Consumers of health care," Perry writes, "have significantly reduced incentives to monitor prices and be cost-conscious buyers of medial and hospital services when they pay only about 10% themselves."

What's more, "the incentives of medical care providers to hold down costs are greatly reduced knowing that their customers aren't paying out of pocket and aren't price sensitive."

So, voilá, you get the high costs and the bizarrely complicated bills that everyone gripes about.

But the first step along the road to price competition, according to Ryan, is to pass the inadequate house bill first. Okay, I'm game. What's the alternative, an "empathy-ectomy" for Senate Democrats that allows them to support a comprehensive bill that, while lowering costs for everyone, gives away centralized power and lets Republicans have a victory the Dems dreamed was theirs and theirs alone? Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Health Care Trump Revolution Posted by JohnGalt at March 21, 2017 2:58 PM

Hear, hear.

You know I'd put Sen. Rand Paul (Hoss - KY) in charge of the government, the FDA, and Major League Baseball if I could. But his opposition to the legislative process comes off as grandstanding and frequently plays into the plans of liberty's enemies. Yes, Senator, we get it.

Posted by: jk at March 21, 2017 7:16 PM

OTOH, senate Hoss Mike Lee makes a compelling case that "the President's agenda is being highjacked by this bill" and legislators should join him in holding out for a bill that "repeals Obamacare, root and branch" as they promised the American voters.

Closer to home, I can't justify a call to my own congressman urging him to either hold to his no position or switch to a yes. Ultimately, it seems, Congress never achieved better outcomes in a hurry than by extended deliberation.

Posted by: johngalt at March 21, 2017 10:45 PM

Fortunately, it turns out that I won't need to call my Freedom Caucus congressman to lobby for his vote. The President of the United States has done so.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2017 12:05 AM | What do you think? [3]