Sunday, January 3, 2016

Price Controls, The Next Phase Of Health Care "Reform"

Daily Kos has discovered that Medicare isn't a good gauge of medical spending (this is my shocked face), because Medicare reacts to an entirely different set of stimuli and constraints than private actors:
The research looked not only at Medicare but also at a huge, new database drawn from private-insurance plans—the sorts used by most Americans for health care. And it shows that places that spend less on Medicare do not necessarily spend less on health care over all. Grand Junction, as it happens, is one of the most expensive health care markets in the country for the privately insured—despite its unusually low spending on Medicare.
So the answer (you won't be surprised) is cost controls!
All of this boils down to an idea that isn't at all new: in order to really rein in healthcare costs, providers have to be reined in. Existing anti-trust laws need to be enforced when it comes to hospitals and provider groups with near monopolies, and price regulations could be called for where there are already monopolies.
This is not really surprising, and as with all price controls, will end up having the opposite effect than those its architects envision, i.e. shortages and lines. These lines will appear mainly for expensive procedures, i.e. it will predominantly affect older people needing joint replacement surgery, cancer patients, and so on; young, healthy people, whose needs are occasional and generally inexpensive, won't encounter problems, and thus will claim that these things "work", for some value of that word. The comments are a maze of wishful thinking greasing the slippery slope, as though the obvious, much-heralded government meddling in the medical arena hasn't tainted further actions. (Hint: both houses of Congress are now in the hands of the opposition.) (Hat tip: @phillyrich1.)

No comments:

Post a Comment