2 PARAGRAPHS 4 LIBERTY: #194
As we all have seen, over the last few decades the costs of medical care have quadrupled in the United States as a percentage of our GDP. How and why has this happened? That is an easy question to answer, because as the costs have become less transparent, they have risen – enormously. And how has this come about? It began during World War II, when the wages that employers could pay their employees was frozen. So how could employers entice more skilled and able employees to work for them if they couldn’t increase their salaries? The answer was to offer the employees benefits like medical insurance that were in addition to their wages. And this situation was compounded again under President Nixon’s system of wage and price controls. So now, as we know, a large percentage of employees have their health insurance paid for by their employers.
How has that raised prices? Again an easy question to answer. Today, for example, if people covered by health insurance see their doctor about a knee problem and the doctor asks them if they want to have an MRI, what goes through the patients’ minds? ”Well, I have health insurance, and the co-pay for me will only be about $30, so why not? I might as well get the best.” But if those patients actually paid their own money for the MRI, what would they be asking? “Okay doc, what will the MRI show us and how much will it cost?” But unfortunately today cost is not even a factor, to the extent that most of the time not even the doctors know what the cost is. So that is how the costs have skyrocketed. How can we bring them down? Bring in Liberty, which will have patients pay for their own healthcare. That will not only make the patients larger partners with their doctors in their own healthcare, but it will bring in competition back into healthcare which will, in turn, bring costs back down. How can this be done? It’s not that hard. Just bring in a system of medical savings accounts for those of us who can take care of our own medical needs, and combine it with a system of vouchers on s sliding scale that will address the medical needs of those who are not so financially secure. And we will discuss this approach next week.
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President