It will not fix healthcare. In some ways, it will make it worse.
Here are four big flaws:
- It leaves government in charge of the design of health insurance policies. Consumers should decide what they want covered (and what they do not want covered!) in their own policy. As it stands, the bill leaves intact the Obamacare requirement that everything imaginable be covered except for one glaring omission—integrative care. Adding integrative care would not, however, solve the problem. One-size-fits-all policies need to go. No one wants them and no one can afford them. Government does not know best, and its attempts to dictate health insurance policies are bankrupting everyone.
- The bill includes subsidies for insurance companies. This is just more crony capitalism.
- The bill introduces yet another government price-fixing scheme. Government price-fixing never works. Consumers need to set prices through their buying decisions. That is the only way to stop the massive healthcare cost inflation and bring prices down.
- The bill keeps poor people in a medical ghetto called Medicaid. Medicaid’s actual coverage varies enormously from state to state, and it is increasingly hard to find doctors willing to take you as a patient if you’re on Medicaid. Why do we handle medical and food assistance so differently? If people are eligible for food assistance, they receive a card that looks like another credit card and can be used in any grocery store. Why should it be any different in healthcare?
Here is an example of how crazy current healthcare is. The son of an ANH-USA board member recently went to an out-of-state emergency room for food poisoning. The bill came in at over $8,000. The family’s insurance company knocked it down to about $4,000. How fair is that? An uninsured person would have been liable for the full amount, and might even have faced bankruptcy for failure to pay it.
ANH-USA lobbied for a provision in Obamacare preventing hospitals for charging the uninsured more than the insured. The Obama administration opposed it. Why? Because the idea upset the hospitals. They wanted to be able to continue to exploit the uninsured.
None of this will be improved by the Ryan bill. If we really want to change healthcare, we need to put the consumer back in charge of it.
Prices can never be reduced by price controls, much less by price controls on government-imposed monopoly prices. Most people do not realize that the government, through Medicare, has fixed medical prices for half a century, and the results speak for themselves. At the same time, the government has fed these price increases by protecting monopolies established by the drug companies and the American Medical Association. This is what the government always does, and it wrecks any sector of the economy where this crony capitalist system is applied.
The only way to get prices down is to get supply up. That automatically does the job. The only way to get supply up (and improved supply as well) is to create a system in which all sellers—and this includes qualified nurses in addition doctors and other practitioners—are allowed to compete with one another for the dollar of the consumer. To make this work, the consumer must be in charge—not the insurance companies and other agents of government. Only a consumer-controlled market can do this.
Paul Ryan talks about the need for the consumer to regain control of healthcare. But his bill is not consistent with his rhetoric.
Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health: