What’s most amazing about the imminent failure of healthcare reform is that advocates of it can’t even blame private industry.
Normally, when some major regulatory overhaul fails, it’s common to blame entrenched “special interests” and their much-vaunted lobbying clout in Washington, DC. But there’s no way to credibly make that case here.
The lawyers love the new reforms. The AMA supports a public plan. Wal-Mart supports an employee-mandate on insurance. Even the insurance companies support some kind of an overhaul, since some versions of it would require everyone to have health insurance, which equals more cash for them.
But this is exactly why the new reforms must go down. it’s got nothing to do with whether it will increase or decrease options or “bend down the curve” of cost growth. It’s the fact that this “overhaul” should really be called the Healthcare Status Quo Preservation Act. There’s just no way you can get radical reform by leaving all the old institutions in place.
Even if you ignore growing costs — which could optimistically be chalked up to a growing population and an explosion in new options — there are still all kinds of reasons to hate the current system.
Healthcare lock-in with your employer is an idiotic artifact of WWII wage price controls (though just to give you a sense of the incoherence of the proposed approach, we may see an employer healthcare mandate, and a tax on employer healthcare).
It takes too long to make an appointment, and when you do get an appointment, you’re sitting in the waiting room for two hours, only to see a rushed doctor for 20 minutes, before seeing the receptionist for 30 minutes, while she’s on the phone with your insurance company.
Sorry, but we don’t understand why going to the doctor can’t be as customer-friendly as going to the Apple Store.
That’s what we want to see happen, and though we know there’s no silver bullet to get there, we’re 100% certain that the current 1000-page abomination will move us in the opposite direction. And we’re also confident that once we lock in a new, expanded system with more government involvement and more regulation, it will even be harder to get the change we want to see.
So let’s rip it all up and actually do it right.
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