Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fuchs: No Free Lunch

At, Dr. Albert Fuchs asks, "How will doctors handle the flood of newly insured patients?"

He opens with this analogy:
I distinctly remember that in first grade I had an idea of breathtaking wisdom and profundity. Candy should be free. You may have had a similar thought at the same age. This idea was supported by an incontrovertible rationale, namely that I really liked candy. Tragically, it only took a moment for my parents to expose a flaw in my otherwise revolutionary scheme. They suggested that if candy were free, no one would bother making candy. All candy makers would do something else that allowed them to make a living. Thus exposed to the painful realities of life, I put the thought out of my head for about forty years.

But now I realize that modern bureaucracy makes my vision more possible than ever. Candy makers obviously won’t work for nothing, but they could be paid to give away candy by a national program (Candycare or maybe the Affordable Candy Act). Employees through their work could contract with third party payers (like Blue Candy) to pay for their candy needs. Thus candy would still be free to the consumer and no first grader would ever have to be denied his gummy bears...
 After a detailed discussion of how this applies to health care, he then notes:
Sooner or later we will be forced to rediscover the credo that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Shifting costs from one person to another doesn’t lower costs. A central plan to make something affordable always makes it unaffordable.
ObamaCare is unsustainable, because it attempts to guarantee too many free lunches to too many people. Such a system is impractical, because it's based on a flawed moral premise that giving away "free" lunches is the moral "right thing to do".

The only question is how long before people realize the truth.  Fortunately, more folks like Dr. Fuchs are sounding the alarms while there's still time to fix the problem.

(Read the full text of "How will doctors handle the flood of newly insured patients?")