Kevin Price
Can government contain health care costs?
FacebookTwitter
By Kevin Price
December 24, 2009

The most common arguments for government control of health care is making it available to everyone and excluding no one. Studies indicate that US indigent care (those who cannot afford health care of their own) is better than health care for those who have socialized medicine in other countries. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans who have private coverage enjoy the best care in the world. One of the other popular arguments I hear most often is about the "cost containment" that can only "come from government."

This is a big part of President Obama's message. In a speech back in September on health care that he delivered to Congress he said "The plan I'm announcing tonight would... slow the growth of health care costs for our families." More than for the President's remarks, this speech is better known for a comment by Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) in which he yelled that the President was lying in his speech. The Congressman was referring to the fact that the President claimed his health care bill would not include illegal aliens, but the lack of truth in Obama's "advertising" does not end there.

John Stossel points out in a recent column at FoxBusiness.com that "health care costs have been rising just as fast in countries with government-run health care. Since 1990, per person spending on health care has risen 159% in the US. But in England, with its government-run system, costs went up 210% over the same time period. Spending was up 148% in France and 124% in Canada, according to OECD data." The OECD is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. So we see that government control has not contained costs and the methods used to keep spending down is the use of rationing health care. According to Canada's own health care system, the average Canadian must wait 17 weeks from the time a general physician finds something wrong and a specialist finally sees him or her. In many cases, that is the time frame of an early detected cancer becoming inoperable.

Stossel goes on to note that "It's true that we have always spent more on health care than countries with government systems. But that's partly because we're wealthier, and partly because other countries don't respect our drug patents, free-riding on our medical innovation." That innovation will decline with the undermining of our for profit health care system. I go a step further to mention that doctors in socialized countries do not have the liability issues that American physicians have. Doctors in this country recommend very expensive tests — even if it is highly unlikely that the patient might have the condition the exam seeks — in order to protect themselves from being sued by patients later. In socialized systems, it is virtually impossible to sue government doctors.

Finally, Stossel points out something both obvious, but profound, "Someone will ration health care. In America, insurance companies usually do it. In most of the rest of the world, governments do. Costs skyrocket under both systems. Its time we tried the third option: let individuals use their own money to buy health care."

I have been advocating "consumer driven health" long before it became a popular phrase in the insurance industry. The development of such an approach, seen in things like high deductible insurance policies and health savings accounts, have significantly reduced cost increases for businesses and individuals who have pursued such plans. The reason for this is simple, it gives the consumer (or in this case, the patient) a financial interest in the choices that are made in his or her health care. Individual responsibility should be the center piece of the health care debate, rather than abdicating health care to the government.

© Kevin Price

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of www.USDailyReview.com

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)

Subscribe

Receive future articles by Kevin Price: Click here

More by this author

 

Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
FLASHBACK to 2020: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Cherie Zaslawsky
RFK Jr.: The silver-tongued spoiler

Randy Engel
A documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part VIII

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 22: What Is Social Justice?

Stephen Stone
A Song for Independence Day: ‘Have You Been To My Hometown?’

Rev. Mark H. Creech
From ancient idols to modern misconceptions: The call to worship only God

Michael Bresciani
Pride Month – Are we proud of the decimation, disfigurement, and death of children?

Tom DeWeese
The second great Colorado land grab

Matt C. Abbott
Dealing with the Dobbs backlash

Ronald R. Cherry
Book Review: Left Imperialism – From Cardinal Richelieu to Klaus Schwab, by Gary Gindler

Cliff Kincaid
Trump’s life is in grave danger

Randy Engel
A documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part VII

Jerry Newcombe
Why 'Bad Faith' is a bad movie
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites