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Health care bill passes Senate

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It should be interesting to see how the House and Senate health care bills are melded into a single piece of legislation that can be passed in both chambers, but, that's a job for next year.

Share prices for the health insurers will probably continue to rise today - maybe by a lot...

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Anonymous said...

There are 2 ways to make medicine/insurance affordable.

1) Real competition.

2) Regulated utilities/oligopolies.

Granting de jure monopoly/oligopoly without regulating the oligopoly is a recipe for high prices. Allowing the oligopoly to write its own regulations results in the same.

Competition would require allowing anyone to compete, and customers to buy meds from anyone they choose. Buy insurance across state lines, or from overseas. Thai clinics can open branches in the US, staffing them with Thai trained doctors. Wal Mart can train its own doctors to staff its clinics. Citizens can buy meds from without a prescription, or from overseas by mail, rather than from the pharmacist monopoly, etc...

All other advanced countries went the regulated approach (national health care) because they didn't trust their citizens to make free market choices with regard to medicine. The US choose to grant de jure oligopolies, but let the oligopolies write their own regulations. Now the US can't afford the resultant prices.

The new legislation is an attempt to regulate the de jure oligopolies a bit more, in an effort to control rapidly rising costs, and bring some of the excluded citizens into the fold.

The Real Deal said...

Both proposals in Congress, striped of its confusing complexity, reduces to a simple transformation: turn the health insurance industry into Wall Street financial industry.

"All other advanced countries went the regulated approach (national health care) because they didn't trust their citizens to make free market choices with regard to medicine."

You ignorance is breathtaking. Who are 'they'? You mean the 'government'. Like some dictatorial politicians either forced or brainwashed hundreds of millions of people in advanced democratic capitalistic civilizations into distrust of the free market when it comes to the most important service - health care?

Only brainwashed Americans see other countries' health system in the absurd way you do.

Anonymous said...

What I mean is that no advanced country trusts its citizens to be in charge of their health care. Citizens are not allowed buy Lipitor over the counter, inexpensively. The government insists on counting every last Lipitor pill, and deciding who gets to take one.

Doctors must get a license to practice. That is, consumers are not allowed to choose who to go to, the government decides who consumers can go to. The government simply does not trust citizens to make sensible choices with regard to health care.

A free market cannot work this way. Consumers must be free to choose. The way they are free to choose Big Macs or salads.

Once the government limits consumer choice, there is no longer a free market. It is already government controlled, and the government makes the choices.

Citizens are not free to buy Lipitor from Canada, and they are not free to go to a Thailand trained doctor in this country. They must buy Lipitor from a licensed pharmacist, and they must get a prescription from a government licensed doctor. This is not a free market, and there is no competition to keep costs down.

That only leaves regulating the licensed monopolies.

John S said...

"This is not a free market, and there is no competition to keep costs down."

It's about to get much worse: Now every U.S. citizen will be forced to buy the insurance companies' product under the threat of IRS sanctions or imprisonment. There now is no limit to how much the medical profession can gouge insurance companies nor how high insurance premiums will climb in response.

Anonymous said...

You noticed how well regulations written by the financial industry lobbies worked. Regulations written by insurance lobbies work about the same.

Its government by special interest groups. Which wouldn't be bad if the special interest groups got together and gave us good government out of enlightened self interest. Unfortunately, they don't. They all fight for the biggest piece of the pie, and regulations wind up being a chaotic, dysfunctional mix.

Costs are finally starting to force some reform over the objections of the powerful special interests, but they still have a lot of influence over the result.

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