Saturday, November 07, 2009

Health Care Alternatives

Well, we'll see what happens in health care today in the decisions of the House of Representatives. My money would bet the under, take the status quo and the points. Reform of big industry comes hard in this country, especially when the "plans" of reform are so difficult to wrap your head around.

That being said, I ran across an interesting post by Steve2 at Alexandria (a group blog that DADvocate contributes to from time to time).

The question is: in our free market, why hasn't anyone tapped into the discontent with our current health care providers with a super-low cost health option. The author likens this to WalMart health care. The need and market is certainly there, and one of the strengths of free-market economies is the rise of entreprenuers to fill holes in the market.

As I've stated before, if there is even one dollar to be made, our culture's entreprenuers will create a business to compete for it. So why is there no movement to capitalize on the dollars that folks would spend on discount health care or insurance?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know one thing: if health care reform fails today in the House, liberals and progressives would do well to begin seeking non-government, market based alternatives to the health care crisis. Use the freedoms of our system to begin driving the prices down and forcing big insurance to compete for customers.

If they can't pass wholesale health reform with their current political capital, we have to look for other ways to get at this problem. Liberals and progresives should find a way to make health insurance co-ops easier to start. They should start finding a way to lower the costs of becoming nurses and doctors, and progressive activists should start looking to actually become nurses and doctors (as the right wing decided to do years ago in response to Roe vs. Wade). Tax breaks and development grants could encourage the creation of non-profit community clinics so doctors and nurses could still make money without serving corporate interests.




patsbrother said...

Perhaps the reason you can't buy cheap health insurance is the exact reason repeated ad nauseum by conservatives for several months: current government intervention.

You apparently can't sell health insurance across state lines, and states require that health insurance plans cover large batteries of programs one likely doesn't need. The first part of this retards competition and the second part of these keeps any premiums paid unnecessarily high.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Conservatives have plenty of good ideas about health care. They unfortunately did nothing to apply these ideas to address overall concerns between 1994 and 2008 when they were represented as a majority in at least one branch of government.

While I have no doubt government intervention is a major factor (the bill passed by the house attempts to eliminate the anti-trust exemption from health insurers, for example), that does not explain the lack of folks getting into the discount market. I'm sure there is no one smoking gun style reason, but a host of obstacles from many different sides.

Both reasons you list are definitely anti-competitive, which would drive prices up. Though this comes with the territory of "states-as-laboratories" political theory. While both reasons are likely rationalized under the "consumer protection" rationale, they are doubtless fueled by health insurer lobbying dollars. Especially if they arise at the state level.

mominem said...

The reason no one offers low cost health insurance is that they have to be able to pay for the health they offer under the plan.

Walmart can sell stuff cheap because they can buy it cheap and they choose to pass on the savings.

Point me to a low cost provider of health care and the insurance companies will be all over it.

No one really wants low cost health care what they want is expensive health care for nothing.