An alumnus of Belmont’s MBA program, entrepreneur Charles Hagood, provides lean management consulting for the healthcare industry through his company Healthcare Performance Partners. While currently working in Denmark he wrote this at his blog site:
…I can’t help but note that the majority of healthcare issues for the most part will not be solved via socialized medicine and certainly not with the government getting more involved to “help us”. The answer is to eliminate waste, reduce unevenness, and reduce overburden.
We are now facing a false choice in the US. One choice is to continue the current system of rent seeking by the healthcare industry. K Street in Washington, DC is awash with lobbyists and their money funded by various healthcare and corporate interests. The healthcare mess we now have is the outcome of decades of duplicitous acts between large public corporations, various healthcare interest groups, and politicians. Through a labyrinth of tax and employment laws we have created over the years an incredibly inefficient system that has pushed costs up at a pace that far exceeds any normal inflationary increases.
As an alternative, the other choice we are being presented with is the socialized model, which has gained tremendous steam of late thanks to the left and the mainstream media. If you want to see where complete government control of healthcare takes us, just ask Canada, or Great Britain, or any of the long list of socialist democracies that have taken that path. Not only are their systems inefficient, but theirs are also increasingly ineffective.
The third choice is to let the free market once again drive healthcare. Sadly, this alternative is getting precious little attention right now. We live in an age where the Republicans are taking us on a gentle stroll to socialism, while the Democrats offer the alternative of a full speed sprint.
If we put the “free” back into health care markets, we will see a system that will seek out improved outcomes through more efficient means. That is what free markets demand. How do we do this?
The first step is to uncouple health insurance from the tax code. This will take employers out of the loop. Health care is not a gift from our employers. It is part of what they pay us. By enmeshing healthcare in the tax code and employment law all we get is more bureaucracy and waste within American business and within our government. We have suckered Americans into believing that the market will take those dollars away if the government does not enforce the current system. The truth is that free markets will pay us the same. But now more of the dollars will come directly to us and not be redistributed through the human resource systems of corporations, to the bloated bureaucracy of health insurance companies, all under the watchful eye of our government. That is where much of healthcare money gets wasted.
We also need to deregulate health insurance. Let market forces work. We will see a return to the system we had 40 years ago where we had high deductible plans that covered only “major medical” events. We will have more income to pay for routine healthcare ourselves, which will guide that industry to more efficient and more effective outcomes through market pressures.
In short, get healthcare out of the tax code and employment law, and get government out of micro-managing health insurance. This is a simple prescription, but one that no politicians seem to have the courage nor vision to support.