Conservatives believe seniors could shop for health insurance, as they do for groceries, to drive down prices. The states, freed from excessive federal oversight, could similarly drive down costs.
That’s absolute fantasy.
Seniors would confront large insurance companies armed with too little information, and limited choices or monopolies when they purchase drugs and hospital care. That’s not a fair fight–like individuals with bows and arrows vs. B-52s.
Already, large employers operate in a similar market space—free to negotiate with health insurance companies—and even they have not been able to harness rising health insurance premiums.
The reason this problem exists is that government has intentionally provided health insurance companies and health providers monopoly protections that allow them to literally screw anyone they wish, while barring the market from correcting these practices, by conferring legal protection against both market forces and long-standing anti-monopoly laws such as the Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman acts.
There is no other way that an antivenom that costs $100 per dose to manufacture in Mexico is sold for well north of $30,000 a dose in a hospital in the United States. But that is, in fact, what has been documented to have happened.
I have repeatedly, through the last several years, outlined exactly this problem and proposed solutions. Both featured prominently as the key element inLeverage, which you can order off the sidebar at the right and which was published in 2011. Recently, in response to a Wall Street Journal OpEd which claimed that they didn’t see a path forward or identification of the real issues, I provided a condensed set of both problems and recommendations.
Now Fox News is publishing articles like the above; the Kool-Aid has worn off even among the right-wing faithful.
To the GOP: Stop protecting these jackals in the US Medical system. If you don’t act now you are and will be held responsible — individually, jointly and severably — for the upcoming and inevitable destruction of the United States Federal Budget and our economy.