John Stossell video on Healthcare Finance

John Stossell does a very good job explaining how “insurance affects costs. The 3 words in the English language that causes the greatest inflation are “I have insurance”. Think about it….Call a plumber and tell him you have a leaking pipe upstairs. What will he do? He’ll come by, and give you 2 estimates, one will be the cheapest way to fix it, the other will be more. Tell him you have insurance, and he will likely not only do the more expensive method, but might replace a large part of your wall as well.

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This clip hits it out of the park. It is so bloody obvious that we should be in control of our own
health care dollars for routine things it makes me want to scream in frustration that people don’t get it.
Indeed, there is a role for health insurance just as there is a role for auto insurance. I have used my
car insurance once in 30 years and that system works just fine. Why are people so dense as to not
realize that the same model would work for health care?

I am sick and tired of the hackneyed response to my case for free markets, “Oh but the poor
would die in the streets! Hospitals would charge 10 millions dollars for an appendectomy!”
This is an unthinking brain dead response. Before World War 2, docs and hospitals simply gave
care away for free for those that couldn’t pay. It was simply a part of medical ethics to do so.
With third parties involved, it is now hard to do so because costs are so distorted. In fact, benevolent government
interferes with charity care. At our imaging centers, it is against the law to do charity scans!
As for the 10 million dollar appendectomy, in a true free market, hospitals that took financial advantage
of people in a time of need would lose credibility in the market place and nobody would go there.
If your car broke down and had to be towed to get fixed, exactly the same would happened and nobody
would go there for non-emergent maintenance.

As a radiologist, I look at 100 or more cases per day. Every hour of every day that I work,
I see cases that are discretionary and people would forego if they had to pay for it themselves
and they would have no negative consequence. I would go so far as to say that the majority of what I do is
discretionary. Hi tech tests are used to make diagnoses that
should be totally obvious clinically to third year medical students.

Stossel is right. We turn off our brains when it comes to health care and hand the control over to others
and yet we all suffer the consequence of out-of-control costs and the loss of freedom in our medical
choices. Why should my doc have to be “in network”? Why should the insurance company decide
if my procedure gets paid for. The whole thing is utterly ridiculous. The only thing more ridiculous
than American health care is Canadian health care where control is handed over completely to the
government.

End of rant. I feel better now.

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