Designing the ideal health care system
One Fortune editor explores the ups and down of Obamacare - and poses his own solution.
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- --This is the first installment in a series of health care columns by Fortune editor at large Shawn Tully.
Let's dream for a moment: Imagine that our nation could start with a clean slate and invent the best possible health care system to replace the current wobbly machine -- one that everybody agrees needs fixing.
Let's design a market-based, consumer-driven plan based on the belief that the same free-flowing forces that bring us the world's finest groceries, cars, and private mail delivery can also deliver high-quality health care at bargain prices.
In that world, put simply, the best way to spread coverage to the maximum number of Americans is to make it as affordable as possible, not by disguising the true cost through lavish subsidies, but by allowing the market to bring the benefits of real competition and consumer choice.
That will have two tremendous benefits. First, millions of Americans who lack insurance would buy it for the most basic of reasons -- they can afford it. And second, people who now have coverage would get to keep far more of their future incomes, instead of sacrificing their raises to soaring health care premiums.
So how do we get there?
The solution is to attack both sides of the problem -- inflated demand created by a system that encourages consumers to overuse and waste medical services, and restricted supply that pushes up the prices of those MRI exams, dialysis treatments, and physician visits.
These issues don't exist because the laws of supply and demand won't work in medicine, a misperception that's gained a shocking degree of credence. Once unshackled, they always work. But the market is blocked from working by a web of laws, regulations, and monopolistic restrictions. The solution isn't to add to them, as the Obama plan dictates, but to eliminate as may of these barriers as possible.
Hence, the goal is to put the consumer in charge by freeing Americans to spend their own money on health care, shop for the best prices, and keep what they don't spend. That's the way markets are supposed to behave. [...]
It goes on to show point by point, why this would be far superior to, and much less costly than, the Obama plan. The government does have an important role to play, but it's not the one they are reaching for currently. If they would simply do their part, and not overreach, we would all benefit. Read the whole thing, it's as clear as a bell, your must-read for the day.
There ARE viable alternatives that would work much better and cost much less than what the government is pushing on us. We need a Win/Win situation, not a situation that only benefits government expansion. We need a sustainable system that works efficiently. And we can have that by removing barriers in the current system, and keeping government in it's proper role.
Also see: True Health Care Reform: Reduce the "Wedge"