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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Health Care and the Free Market: Are Health Savings Accounts as Dr. Benjamin Carson Suggests The Key?

By Douglas V. Gibbs

The problem with health care in America sits partially with insurance companies, partially with tort law, and partially with government intrusion into the industry.  It is being articulated by government that if you are against a larger infestation by government into the health industry, you love the insurance companies, which we have been told are all evil.  But we know that nationalizing medicine as is being proposed by the American Left is a dangerous path, as shown by the failure of such systems worldwide and throughout history, as well as the alarming news we keep hearing constantly about the Affordable Care Act as its oppressive secrets bubble to the surface.  Is the argument that health insurance is what we've got to work with so we are stuck with it as the only option available other than Obamacare?

This writer has argued that the problem does in fact lie with insurance, but transferring the powers of insurance companies to government is not the answer.  If insurance companies can screw up the system, what kind of damage will government cause?

Health Care works best when the Free Market is in control, and the government's role is as small as necessary.  Before insurance rose to dominate health care in America, the relationship in medicine was a direct one between the patient and the provider.  Doctors made house calls, and treatment options remained reasonably priced, because the doctors had to participate in the free enterprise system, competing against each other for the potential customers.  They had to keep the prices within reach of the customers, provide high quality services, and smile and have a good bedside manner.  With insurance paying, and malpractice lawyers hovering over every doctor visit, the industry has learned to cover their butt at every opportunity, over prescribing procedures, and digging far into the deep pockets of the insurance companies.  Insurance rates have risen, as has medical costs.  What do you care?  What does the doctor care?  The very rich insurance company is paying the bill.

What would happen if the patient had more skin in the game when it came to the price of the bill?  Would they go to the clinic rather than the more expensive emergency room?  Would they hold a hand up and stop the doctor from ordering so many procedures, and only pursue what is deemed as necessary?  Would the customer go to the doctor for every fever, hiccup, and bump or bruise?

Dr. Benjamin Carson has been pushing for Health Savings Accounts, which place the interest of the patient economically back into the mix.  If the patient is more involved in the price, the patient, he contends, will make a more responsible decision regarding their health care.  Give them the account when they are born, he says, and allow it to be transferred to posterity when they die.  Is this the path back to the way it used to be?  Will this return health care back to a free market style system?

I think so.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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