THE UNFORTUNATE ECONOMICS OF POLITICIZED HEALTHCARE

Healthcare is the product of relationships between bureaucratic insurers/governments, large employers and the medical providers hired to provide the care. Doctors are dependent upon these organizations; they no longer depend much upon personal relationships with individual patients. Therefore, resources must be directed toward the greatest good for the largest number at the lowest cost, NOT toward saving an individual patient whatever that requires. But who is the politician, insurance executive or doctor who will say that in public?

Undeniable evidence of this: The $716 billion repurposed from Medicare funding to finance Obamacare, a program somewhat humorously titled “The Affordable Care Act.” With government, much of the humor is unintended. Another restriction upon the older doctor-patient relationship is the ever-growing risk aversion resulting from multiplying, ballooning malpractice awards; doctors may now be safer letting some marginal patients die rather than taking chances to save them.

The intrusion of government and insurers has produced other effects too. Prominently, a Cato Institute investigation reported that about 30% of the cost of Federal healthcare programs was the result of waste, fraud and abuse.  Free emergency care mandated for those who cannot pay (Including illegal aliens) has to be subsidized by other patients. Other mandates make U.S. Drug Prices too high.  Medicare/Social Security funding includes increasing deficits; they run on borrowed money. A 2017  Forbes article reported that patients in large cities were waiting 30% longer to see a doctor.  And the Wall Street Journal wrote in 2019 that employer contribution for employee health coverage now passes $20,000 a Year per employee. Though unfortunate enough when the subject is healthcare, these conditions are inevitable in any significant application of government; human governments are inherently subject to political, not economic goals.

Summed up, healthcare is accessible for most Americans via employer and/or government subsidies and emergency rooms. Private physician services are limited to the wealthy. Under this setup, politics assures that the demand for services always leads both their availability and the resources available to supply them, a degenerative process that ultimately produces something resembling the scandal-plagued Veterans’ Administrations’ healthcare.

All of this became inevitable when the medical practitioners joined together in support of government licensing for themselves and for their facilities.  Government licensing was the camel’s nose for healthcare, with that, today’s socialization became inevitable. As politics always trumps economics, promises/expectations will continue to exceed reality until the next financial collapse. That will be used to justify the resulting very substantial reset of both resources and expectations that will obtain until the next repeating cycle starts. It is part of the nature of especially democratic politics as we all know at some level – even in denial.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Economics, Goverrnment, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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