Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Competition Or Slavery?

The Happy Hospitalist writes about competition (or the lack thereof) in the US medical system (emphasis mine):
The Price Of A Pen

Go to your neighborhood Walmart and walk straight to the pen isle. That's correct. The pen isle.

Now just stand there and look. Look at the number of companies that make pens. The types of pens. The sizes. The colors. The "bacteria free". The "check book proof".

The prices. Look at the various prices. A vast array. Pennies to dollars.

Every pen you could ever imagine



Something as simple as a pen has hundreds of variations. Cheap to expensive all priced to perfection? How do I know that it's priced to perfection?

Because they are on the wall. If you, the consumer didn't buy it, it wouldn't be on the shelf for very long. You do not have pen insurance. If you like it, you will buy it.

What the heck does all this mean to health care?

There is no competition in health care. Medicare sets the rate, all other third parties follow suit. Hospitals cloak their product prices in secrecy. You the consumer don't pay. You don't care. You're insurance picks it up. The status quo has flattened the system.

Where's the competition.

Where's the innovation? Everything in this world is getting cheaper (except gasoline and subsidized agriculture) and better with more variety. Health care is not getting cheaper. And I'm hard fetched to say its getting better (for the money being spent)

Where is the drive for innovation?

Where is the 100 different pens per say?

It's bottled in the Medicare highway. Price controls create artifical limits to productivity. Success is determined by somebody else, not yourself. You are the slave of someone else. There is no sky is the limit.

Competition forces innovation on the top line and bottom line. To survive, change must occur, and quickly, or you go bankrupt. That is the American way.

That is innovation.

Not universal health insurance. It will kill innovation. It will perpetuate a status quo and create one pen instead of a 100. I can assure you of that.