MULTIPLYING DAVIDS AND SHRINKING GOLIATH

The ideological divide in this nation seems to sharpen as the presidential election draws nearer. My views on individual responsibility and small government are known to my readers, but often lost in the anti-government rhetoric is the reminder that the absence of government is not the answer—that’s anarchy.

The truth is, there is an essential role for government in society but in the tangle of its myriad unnecessary interventions its primary functions become diluted out and it loses its way. It seems others have noticed. Here’s a reference cited in the ACC News Digest:

Economists Suggest Minimal But Important Role For Government In Healthcare.

Modern Healthcare (9/6, Evans, Subscription Publication) reports on a recent article published in Health Affairs, which suggests a minimized, but productive and important role for the Federal government in supporting the private healthcare market. The authors, economists Aparna Higgins and Neeraj Sood, argue that “to best promote healthcare delivery and payment reform, the public sector should fund research, provide access to capital, work closely with the private sector and limit its regulation to address ‘market failures’ such as monopolies.”

Unfortunately, our present government paradigm consists of trying to regulate anything and everything it can get its clumsy hands on. In the process it fails to restrict monopolies not only in the health care sector but in the economy at large. When the inevitable collapses loom they’re “too big to fail” and require taxpayer resuscitation. And with Obamacare, the government is getting a step closer to co-opting the health care economy.

Government isn’t the best instrument to rectify all ills; it’s a club, not a scalpel. Some of you may recall one of the center posts of my proposed solution to the health care crisis was a program administered by medical professional societies (not government regulators) to apprise physicians of their individual utilization statistics relative to their peers in an effort to curb unnecessary ordering of tests. I maintained most physicians would be motivated to self-correct. Here is an excerpt from theheart.org referencing a study that showed a decline in cardiac imaging studies over the past decade: Patrick White, the president of MedAxiom, a company that specializes in collecting cardiology practice data stated, “Physicians are competitive. So if we put data in front of them showing them that they’re performing below the median, sometimes below the 75th percentile, they are very motivated to make improvements.”

Attempting to micro-manage details from afar with reams of progressively more complex laws leads only to more effective and ingenious ways to circumvent those laws, at greater taxpayer expense. Given personal responsibility and the appropriate constraints to minimize fraud and abuse, the system will self-correct, assuming a generally moral citizenry that wants to do the right thing.

I hope that’s no longer a pie-in-the-sky assumption.

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2 Responses to “MULTIPLYING DAVIDS AND SHRINKING GOLIATH”

  1. qualityhealthcareplease Says:

    Micro-management does seem like a bad idea. What about macro-management? The latter is what the UK uses and they get health care at twice the quality and half the cost. The US does not have a health care system, if we had a real system cost and quality would be better. US market forces cause mergers, higher profits, and delivers more care to the people who have the most money.

    • heartheaded Says:

      I dissected the multitude of problems riddling our healthcare system at length in past posts, so I won’t belabor the point beyond stating that we can agree the current paradigm isn’t working. I’m not so sure market force failure is the issue, though, with the absence of patients’ “skin in the game” due to third party payers and the lack of true interstate insurance competition.

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