Friday, March 12, 2010

My View

Random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...

Ten years ago, the average cost of an MRI and Lasik surgery were approximately $3,000. Today, an MRI costs about $3,500 and Lasik surgery averages under $1,000. Why the difference? MRI's are covered by most insurance plans; Lasik surgery is not. Because of that, candidates for Lasik surgery shop more carefully for price and quality, and as a result, competitive forces in that market have driven prices down while maintaining the quality of the service. Why bring this up? Simply because if we are going to make a serious attempt at reducing healthcare costs in this country, consumers must have the ability to shop for health care providers and services in a competitive environment. Existing regulations limit the ability of consumers to really shop for services in a true market environment. Introduce that aspect to the healthcare market and watch what happens to the cost of these services.

My wife told me that I'm proof that not all men are pigs. She said pigs are intelligent, gentle creatures... hey, wait!

What happens to a commodity when there is a scarcity of that item? Typically, the price of that commodity goes up. What happens when the supply of a commodity is limited AND prices are set by an outside entity, such as the government? Rationing of that commodity can occur, or production of that commodity can stop altogether if the producers cannot break even on the sale of that commodity. Now think of healthcare as a commodity, a service that we consume. If we have healthcare "reform" as proposed, we will have socialized medicine. Production, so to speak, of healthcare cannot stop, but what you find in countries that have nationalized their healthcare systems are generally: long waits, rationing of service, and- this is very improtant- a lower quality of care. Think about it; a doctor is told what he will get paid regardless of how hard he works. Where is the incentive to go beyond the minimum level of service required? Removing market forces from the healthcare arena, rather than letting them work, is a long term formula for lowering the quality of care in this country.

Red meat is not bad for you. Fuzzy, green meat is bad for you.

Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen are Democratic pollsters who have done polling work for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. There are some amazing, interesting, and scary revelations from some of their latest polling data. As regards health care "reform", they cite a Rasmussen poll that indicates that Americans feared the government more than insurance companies as regards healthcare decisions by a 51 to 39% margin. Given the negative perception of insurance companies, this is amazing. They also cite a CNN poll that says 56% of Americans now believe that the federal government constitutes an immediate threat to the freedoms and rights of its citizens. Look at these numbers again. Over 50% of the respondants fear our government and think that it compromises our rights and freedoms. Stunning isn't the word for this. What can be done to reverse these horrific trends. First and foremeost, the electorate has to become engaged in the process rather than just voting for a candidate with a "D" or and "R" after their name. And we are going to need to delve into the issues this country faces and force our leadership to be accountable to resolving those issues. Most importantly, we are going to have to make our leaders accountable to us. It starts in November with the mid-term Congressional elections.

If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn?

And that, my friends, is my view.

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