Friday, June 19, 2009

Junking insurance

I've written before about how health care reform should start with an end to the insurance model in favor of fee for service. Turns out I was channeling the late, great Milton Friedman:
"Third-party payment has required the bureaucratization of medical care. ... A medical transaction is not simply between a caregiver and a patient; it has to be approved as 'covered' by a bureaucrat. ... The patient has little ... incentive to be concerned about the cost since it's somebody else's money. The caregiver has become, in effect, an employee of the insurance company or, in the case of Medicare and Medicaid, of the government. ... An inescapable result is that the interest of the patient is often in direct conflict with the interest of the caregiver's ultimate employer."
I'd also go along with what Peter Robinson says:
Wherever possible, reduce the role of third parties. Increase the autonomy of individuals. Get the government and vast, bureaucratic insurance companies out of the way, permitting the free market to work its effects in health care, just as it does in virtually every other sector of the economy.
The marketplace is great at increasing quality while reducing costs. Government is not. This would seem to suggest a certain approach -- one very much different than what is currently being advocated by most in Congress and the White House.

Update: John Stossel and I seem to think alike.

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