Monday, March 17, 2008

Free-Market Health Care: Only Idea That Will Work

While government's role in health care has expanded — one out of two health care dollars is now spent by the government — health care has become more expensive, less efficient, and less accessible. Health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000 while inflation grew at 18% and wages grew by 20%. Meanwhile, the percentage of employers offering coverage has dropped 8% during the same period.

Convincing consumers that government is the problem obviously will require more than statistics or sound policy, but an appeal to their gut level expectations. The fact is Americans expect choice, freedom, and security in every area of their lives except for two: health care and education. This dynamic represents both a challenge and an opportunity.

The challenge is that low expectations and widespread frustration has made consumers vulnerable to the seduction of socialized medicine. The opportunity is in helping consumers see that if the government-imposed barriers in the health care market were erected anywhere else in our economy they would revolt.

A market-based system that would unleash the power of innovation and competition in health care is within reach. A key reform would involve transferring health care tax benefits to individuals rather than employers. Free-market health care isn't merely a good idea that ought to be attempted; it is the only idea that will work.

~Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., writing in today's NY Sun

Comment: Now that's a double breath of fresh air: both a politician and a physician calling for free-market health care.


At 3/17/2008 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we could get rid of the damned Canadians and their healthcare system we'd be ok.

The problem is that the Canadian healthcare system produces very nearly the same end results as the US system except 100% of Canadians are covered vs only 83% of Americans having coverage.

Canada has no deductible, no copays, you choose your own doctor, etc.

Waiting lists seem to be the only thing that Canadians complain about and that can be solved by increasing the taxes they pay to increase funding to their healthcare system.

So if Canadians increase their healthcare expenditures by 50% they'd get rid of all the waiting lists and still be paying only 75% of what is spent in the US. Oh, except Canadians also live longer too but we won't talk about that pesky stat, LOL.

Why would I believe a Senator that is an MD when it comes to healthcare anyway?

Dr. Perry can you say conflict of interest?

That Senator / MD is biased and undoubtedly has a vested interest in the path he proposes.

At 3/17/2008 10:04 AM, Anonymous Is said...


74% of all statistics are made up on the spot. How about some sources...

At 3/17/2008 10:11 AM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...


Where to start? Well, first of all Canadian life expectancy is higher not because of a better healthcare system, but because of less violent crime.

Second of all, most MDs don't want free market capitalism invading their profession. As a spokesperson for the AMA once said, "We are a profession, not a business." They nkow that free markets would lower healthacre costs and probably lower their exorbant checks they take home. So, if anything, Coburn's stance is courageous. In fact, I expect any day now for the AMA to denounce him.

At 3/17/2008 10:56 AM, Blogger Thomas Blair said...

Dr. Perry,

While Sen. Coburn's remarks are a refreshing draft from the hill, others have been sharing these ideas for much longer:

Enjoy the fresh air.

At 3/17/2008 1:23 PM, Blogger VulcanHammer said...

For those that wax poetically about how much of a fix single-payer/universal health care would be if put in place: What is going to happen (in the not too distant future) when baby boomers start to retire en masse and we go from 4 workers to 1 beneficiary to roughly 2 workers to 1 beneficiary? How much are we going to raise taxes to cover EVERYBODY? Are we going to cut national defense to record lows? Medicaid and Medicare (including states' portion) are already a large chunk of the federal budget...larger than national defense and social security. And since it's a sure bet that medical expenses are set to rise faster than inflation, how exactly are we going to pay for universal health care? The benefits promised to future Medicare beneficiaries under current law far exceed the capacity of existing revenue sources to meet those promises.

At 3/17/2008 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Population of Canada is like 33 million, slightly less than California's 36 million. I believe 90% of the population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. border, which is an easy drive to get additional health care. Not sure it is a good comparison. They also do alot less medical and scientific research than the U.S.

Plus, anon, you just suck.

At 3/17/2008 2:46 PM, Anonymous fred said...

American medical care gets progressively better with new home grown technologies, drugs, and other treatments. Progressive Canadian care gets better as they adopt American advances.

If America adopts the Canadian system then Canada is screwed.

At 3/17/2008 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a friend that lives in Ontario. While visiting him last year I heard him complain about an increase in his premium. Premium? What are you talking about, premium?

He pays a monthly rate for his healthcare to supplement his "free" healthcare plan.

We compared coverage and costs.

I like our format and service better here in the USA.

After our talk we went and got some beer at $30 a case and some overpriced tobacco. I passed on the $80 bottle of liquor I was considering. I can get it here for $24.

Some "free" healthcare.....

At 3/17/2008 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


We got to get those violent newborns away from guns. U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world. Dam violence. Good reverse engineering on your fake reality.

At 3/17/2008 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Machiavelli999 said...

"...Canadian life expectancy is higher not because of a better healthcare system, but because of less violent crime."

Oh please! What next are we going to delete all deaths in Canada due to cold weather as well just to make things fair?

Oh but the US has crappier civil aviation standards than Canada so more people die in civil aviation accidents in the US than in Canada so we have to adjust for that...

But the US has better product safety than Canada so we can't count deaths in Canada due to product malfunctions and etc.


At 3/17/2008 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When boomers start to lose health care and/or start to see their health care premiums go through the roof you'll see calls for socialized medicine and for burning the AMA at the stake.

At 3/17/2008 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:29 PM, I might suck but I have always been right.


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