The so-called health care reform bill has been passed in the States by a very divided Congress. Not one member of the Republican Party voted for it. The Bill that was passed is really health insurance reform, and it requires all Americans to buy health insurance whether they can afford it or not. Those who can't afford it will be subsidized and its estimated by 2014 when the thing takes full effect 95% of Americans will have insurance.
I'm sure that the American system of health care is broken, but I have strong doubts that this new Bill is the solution. It is supposed to save money, well living in Canada I know that health care costs are rising at an unsustainable pace and eventually something will have to change. The Americans will likely find that their costs will also rise much faster than anticipated. This short video outlines three reasons why:
During the health care debate in the U.S., Michael Cloud of The Advocates for Self Government proposed six simple ways to dramatically cut costs for medical care without it costing taxpayers a penny. Here is what he wrote:
1. Allow price advertising. Let pharmacies, doctors, hospitals, and laboratories to publish their prices for goods and services. Eliminate all laws, regulations, and government provisions that hinder or prevent medical providers from posting their prices.
Charges for the same medical procedure can vary 30% to 300% within a 100-mile radius. But without price information, patients can't shop for the best value.
In the 1970's, U.C.L.A. Economist Sam Peltzman compared the costs of eyeglasses in states that allowed price advertising and states that outlawed it. Results? Much lower prices in states that allowed price advertising.
2. Let all Americans buy prescription drugs outside the United States. Do NOT force them to travel abroad. Allow them to have the prescription drugs shipped to their homes.
I've seen the 30% to 60% savings in prices of prescription drugs purchased in Mexico.
International competition for prescription drugs will drive down domestic prescription prices.
3. Let all people buy medical insurance across state lines. In New Jersey, a single man would pay $4,000 for medical insurance. If he lived in Pennsylvania, he'd pay $1,500. If the New Jersey man could buy medical insurance from a Pennsylvania provider, he'd save $2,500 a year.
Imagine this all across America.
This would cut medical insurance costs for millions who already have needlessly overpriced premiums.
AND, if the American Enterprise Institute study is correct, this would make medical insurance affordable for 12 million uninsured Americans.
4. Let doctors and patients negotiate discounts for paying cash. If a patient saves a doctor the time, trouble, delay and cost of dealing with insurance companies, Medicare, or Medicaid - let the doctor and patient share the savings.
5. Let patients, doctors, and hospitals enter into into legally binding, limited-liability contracts. This would reduce the cost of medical treatment by reducing the cost of malpractice insurance.
Just as Prenuptial Agreements limit marital risk, limited-liability contracts will limit medical risk.
6. End all government mandates that require businesses or individuals to buy medical insurance. End all government mandates that punish and tax those who do NOT buy medical insurance. Make insurance companies earn our business with lower prices and better quality - rather than lobby government to compel us to buy medical insurance by force of law.