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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Less government equals less healthcare costs

Here's a perfect example of why healthcare costs so much. I went into the patient's room and she said the following:

I have no insurance. I have all the stuff to take a breathing tx at home. I know as soon as you start the treatment it's going to cost me $100, and I'm going to have to pay it. If you can talk to the doctor and have him write me a prescription for Albuterol solution, I can get it for $4 and I can give my self treatments for free at home."

You see, she is paying for her own medicine, and so she questioned what the doctor ordered. Because she was paying on her own, she didn't want to pay for it.

Now if she had health insurance, and if she had medicaid or medicare, and she never saw the bill, then she wouldn't care what the cost of that treatment was. She wouldn't have questioned the order.

This is a perfect example of why we need to have a healthcare system where there is an incentive to question the order. The truth is, at present, most of us don't. And that's why healthcare costs so much. It costs so much because people keep getting, and they don't pay. Since someone else is paying, they don't question the order.

Think about it. If you give something away for free, everyone is going to come running to buy it. So while supply of hospitals, doctors and medical equipment stays the same, demand for it goes up because it's free. Per basic economics 101, the price has no choice but to go up.

The best way to get the price of medicine to go down is to force people to pay for it themselves. Back in the 1960s this is how it was, and medicine was affordable. Ever since the advent of Medicare and Medicaid and HMOs and third party payers, healthcare has skyrocketed.

It's not a coincidence. The way to get healthcare costs down is to get the government out of it. The way to get healthcare costs down is to get Jane and John Doe to question the therepy they are being provided.

That way, what isn't needed won't be given. What's needed they will pay for. And yet the healthcare reform bill passed 6 months ago does exactly the opposite of that. It places more patient's on the government dole, which means more free (but it's not free) medicine for more people.

Look, there are some people who really, truly cannot work and really, and truly could use a helping hand. I'm all for them getting help. Yet that system of helping out the needy, or our retired parents, has gotten out of hand or out of control.

It's time we had more patients like I had today. The patient who says, "Hey, before you open that and charge me $100 bucks..."

Crossfire appreciated, yet no flames aloud.