Posted tagged ‘Government Regulations Increased Healthcare Costs’

New Gov. Healthcare Regulations Will Not Cure The Results Of Previous Gov. Regulations

May 16, 2017

Politicians and bureaucrats are manipulated the masses into believing our healthcare costs can magically be lowered by bureaucratic edicts backed by the force of government. But our political betters fail to mention the high costs of today’s healthcare is a result of previous edicts by politicians and bureaucrats.

The reason we have been so easily manipulated is because, “ We’re All Born In The Middle Of The Story” (click here). Most people think history started the day they were born. They give little thought, or have no understanding of how the world that existed the day they were born came to exist as it did. Where we are today is the result of interventionist decisions made in the distant and recent past by individuals in government which affected previous decisions made voluntarily by individuals in what we can safely call our hampered (free) market system.

GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION INTO HEALTHCARE

How did we arrive at our current “healthcare crisis”? This article by Mike Holly titled How Government Regulations Made Healthcare So Expensive, gives a brief history of how political and bureaucratic intervention, backed by the force of government, has led to our current healthcare mess.

Government intervention, starting in the early 1900’s, has worked to restrict the supply of and increase the demand for healthcare. The result of restricting supply and increasing demand is higher prices. Since the previous interventions of politicians and bureaucrats have increased the cost, the present politicians and bureaucrats are trying to shift the costs to the already insured and to the taxpayers.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“In 1910, the physician oligopoly was started during the Republican administration of William Taft after the American Medical Association lobbied the states to strengthen the regulation of medical licensure and allow their state AMA offices to oversee the closure or merger of nearly half of medical schools and also the reduction of class sizes. The states have been subsidizing the education of the number of doctors recommended by the AMA.”

  • “In 1925, prescription drug monopolies begun after the federal government led by Republican President Calvin Coolidge started allowing the patenting of drugs. (Drug monopolies have also been promoted by government research and development subsidies targeted to favored pharmaceutical companies.)”
  • “In 1945, buyer monopolization begun after the McCarran-Ferguson Act led by the Roosevelt Administration exempted the business of medical insurance from most federal regulation, including antitrust laws. (States have also more recently contributed to the monopolization by requiring health care plans to meet standards for coverage.)”
  • “In 1946, institutional provider monopolization begun after favored hospitals received federal subsidies (matching grants and loans) provided under the Hospital Survey and Construction Act passed during the Truman Administration. (States have also been exempting non-profit hospitals from antitrust laws.)”
  • “In 1951, employers started to become the dominant third-party insurance buyer during the Truman Administration after the Internal Revenue Service declared group premiums tax-deductible.”
  • “In 1965, nationalization was started with a government buyer monopoly after the Johnson Administration led passage of Medicare and Medicaid which provided health insurance for the elderly and poor, respectively.”
  • “In 1972, institutional provider monopolization was strengthened after the Nixon Administration started restricting the supply of hospitals by requiring federal certificate-of-need for the construction of medical facilities.”
  • “In 1974, buyer monopolization was strengthened during the Nixon Administration after the Employee Retirement Income Security Act exempted employee health benefit plans offered by large employers (e.g., HMOs) from state regulations and lawsuits (e.g., brought by people denied coverage).”
  • “In 1984, prescription drug monopolies were strengthened during the Reagan Administration after the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act permitted the extension of patents beyond 20 years. (The government has also allowed pharmaceuticals companies to bribe physicians to prescribe more expensive drugs.)”
  • “In 2003, prescription drug monopolies were strengthened during the Bush Administration after the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act provided subsidies to the elderly for drugs.”
  • “In 2014, nationalization will be strengthened after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Obamacare”) provided mandates, subsidies and insurance exchanges, and the expansion of Medicaid.”

“The history of medical cost inflation and government interference in health care markets appears to support the hypothesis that prices were set by the laws of supply and demand before 1980 and perhaps 1990. Even the degree of monopolization and nationalization promoted by politicians before 1965 was not enough to cause significant cost inflation and spending increases (Figure 2) until demands created by Medicare and Medicaid outstripped the restricted supply of physicians and hospitals.”

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Can we get back to a free market healthcare system, or are we going to end up with a government-run single payer system? The passage of time means there will always be change, so no one can predict where this ends because nothing is ever final. We had a free market healthcare system at one point in time. But eventually politicians and bureaucrats granted monopoly status to doctor licensing boards, medical schools, drug companies, and insurance companies, on the one hand, and subsidized the use of healthcare on the other. The incremental change over time was hardly noticeable. But decades later we are close to a government-run wingle payer healthcare system.

Now that “One-Third Of Americans Are On Government Healthcare” (click here), it will be difficult to get rid of this “entitlement”. We’ve already heard the Democrats talking about how all the people who have health insurance because of Obamacare, will lose it under the Republican replace bill. They neglect to tell you about how the increased premiums of the already insured, plus taxpayer subsidies are paying for it (That which is seen and that which is not seen – Bastiat).

If you add the entitlement of government granted monopoly positions in the supply of healthcare we can see that moving away from government central planning of healthcare and toward a free market in healthcare will be difficult. Change will happen either incrementally or categorically.

The American Healthcare Act (click here to see what is in the bill), passed by the Republican controlled house, is an attempt to incrementally repeal and replace Obamacare. It is not a very good attempt. Republican leaders can only muster enough courage to try incremental change at this point. The Republican bill is not enough to change the direction on the road we are traveling.

I think categorical change is the only thing that will turn us around and get us headed in the other direction. The inevitable collapse of our present healthcare system will bring about the opportunity for this categorical change back toward a free market healthcare system. The scary part about a collapse, is it also presents the opportunity for central planners to attempt the implementation of a government-run single payer healthcare system. How do we make sure a free market, and not a government run system, will rise from the ashes of a healthcare collapse?

PEOPLE HAVE TO BE EDUCATED ABOUT THE WHOLE STORY

Being born in the middle of the story doesn’t mean we have to be ignorant about the whole story. The election of Trump, or the rejection of the status quo embodied by Hillary, shows people instinctively know something is wrong with our healthcare system. Trump ran on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The fact that people instinctively know something is wrong provides an opportunity to help them understand how government regulations have led to our current healthcare system. How our current healthcare system is not a free market system. How more regulations are not the solution. How the best answer to our failing healthcare system is to allow free market solutions, which means getting rid of existing government healthcare regulations.

Growing numbers of people know something is wrong. They have to understand how we arrived at this point in time. Because when they are faced with the categorical decision between single payer or free market they won’t be fooled by political demagoguery.

Here are some articles about free market solutions for healthcare.

The Bill To Permanently Fix Healthcare For All. at market-ticker-.org

A Four Step Healthcare Solution. at mises.org.

The Impossible Healthcare Solution: Go Back To Cash. at oftwominds.org.

 

Related ArticleHealthcare: Market Solutions vs. Bureaucratic Decrees, at austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleHow Would Government Run Healthcare Work? Look At The VA. at austrianaddict.com.

Related ArticleLet’s Look At Government Run Healthcare, at austrianaddict.com.

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