Friday, August 14, 2009

Dalmia: The Myth Of Free Market Health Care In America

In the July 29, 2009 Forbes Shikla Dalmia reminds us that the US health care system is far from a free market. Instead, it's much closer to the European systems than many recognize, and that's why we're in such trouble.

Here's an excerpt:
...The fact of the matter is that America's health care system is like a free market in the same way that Madonna is like a virgin--i.e. in fiction only. If anything, the U.S. system has many more similarities than differences with France and Germany.
Hence, it's wrong to blame the free market for our current problems:
...The point is that there is no health care model, whether privately or publicly financed, that can offer unlimited access to medical services while containing costs. Ultimately, such a model arrives at a cross roads where it has to either limit access in an arbitrary way, or face uncontrolled cost increases. France and Germany, which are mostly publicly funded, are increasingly marching down the first road. America, which is half publicly and half privately funded, has so far taken the second path. Should America offer even more people such unlimited access through universal coverage, it too will end up rationing care or facing national bankruptcy.

The only sustainable system that avoids this Hobson's choice is one that is based on a genuine free market in which there is some connection between what patients pay for coverage and the services they receive. That is emphatically not what America or any Western country has today. Looking to these countries for solutions as Obama and other advocates of universal health coverage are doing will lead to false diagnoses and false cures.
(Read the full text of, "The Myth Of Free Market Health Care In America".)