Wednesday, 15 June 2005

And the left wants government-managed health care?

John Stossel:

But today, people expect insurance to cover everything, even routine things like eyeglasses and dental treatment. This is a terrible idea. Insurance is a lousy way to pay for anything.

Once some faceless stranger is paying for what you do, you don’t have an incentive to control costs. On the contrary, you have an incentive to get as much as you can and leave the other person with the bill. Doctors also have an incentive to run up the bills. Patients rarely complain, but they might complain if the doctor skips a test. Insurance companies know this, of course; hence the torturous bureaucracy: the paperwork, the phone calls where you beg them to pay, the times they refuse to pay for what you thought was covered.

I can’t blame them. They’re just trying to protect themselves from fraud and hoping to have enough money left over to stay in business.

Government insurance is worse than private insurance. A private insurer has an incentive to cut costs; every dollar wasted comes out of profit or must be recovered by raising prices, which drives customers away. Government just raises taxes or increases debt.

So when our bloated government picks up the tab for poor people’s health costs, guess what it buys: Viagra! In 2004, Medicaid spent $38 million on drugs for erectile dysfunction.

Funny. I always thought one of the Left’s battle cries was for the government to stay out of the private citizen’s bedroom. Here’s a great place to start.

posted on June 15, 2005 8:21 AM




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