“Republican and Democratic policies over the past fifty years are the reason health care has become so expensive. Their latest proposals to ‘fix’ health care will further micromanage your doctors and restrict your access to care while failing to solve the underlying problem. They differ only on whether this should be done by private insurance companies or government bureaucrats. This is the exact opposite of what needs to be done. We can reduce the cost of health care 75% by allowing real price competition, and by substantially reducing government and insurance company paperwork. This will make health care affordable for most Americans, while also reducing the cost of legacy programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.”
The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other high-income country, yet has the lowest life expectancy. It is clear that the current system is not working.
For decades, politicians in Washington, D.C. have insisted that it’s the fault of the free market, and that, therefore, we need to go to a single-payer system.
I have some news for them: we haven’t had anything close to a free market in nearly a century. The alternative to our current, big-government failure isn’t an even bigger government failure which would leave behind the very patients who are already suffering the most.
Those who are dealing with serious ailments would be further victimized in a nationalized system such as the proposed “Medicare for All.” The youngest, healthiest, and most privileged may be able to either afford to wait a few months for a check-up or procedure, or simply pay the higher costs for premium access. But those with the hardest illnesses to treat and the least disposable income are too often left behind.
When some advocate for “Medicare for All,” what I hear is, “V.A. Hospital for All.” Here in the United States, not only is the one-size-fits-all V.A. the closest thing we have to a single-payer model, but it is also among the worst of our health-care systems. It has been caught falsifying data to show compliance with its own deadlines, and many have died before even receiving care. These Americans sacrificed their lives for the United States, but now they find their government making sacrifices when it comes to their health.
Looking abroad to countries with fully nationalized health systems, we see the same problems presenting themselves again and again.
In Canada, a veterinarian named Dr. Sarah Boston detailed in her book Lucky Dog that the pets she cared for were given more options and flexibility in care than she was given under the nationalized Canadian system. She diagnosed herself with thyroid cancer by using an ultrasound machine designed for horses, as she otherwise would have had to wait weeks to get an appointment.
In the United Kingdom, a 23-month-old baby named Alfie Evans, born with a degenerative neurological condition, was deemed by the government to be an “inefficient” use of care. Not only did the British government withdraw care, they also prohibited Alfie’s parents from seeking care elsewhere, and he died after four days of being denied food and water.
We cannot wait for government bureaucrats to decide who lives and who dies. Any overhaul of our system must put control back in the hands of the patient. We are the only industrialized country to have our health care tied to employment, and this makes no sense.
Probably the biggest problem with our health-care system is that our health insurance isn’t insurance at all! In any other industry, insurance covers only unexpected costs, and because of that, costs remain relatively low. Meanwhile, our broken health-care system has insurance pay for everything, and removes all accountability.
Just think how expensive your car insurance would be if it paid for gas, oil changes, or car washes.
You would have absolutely no reason to shop around for the best gasoline prices, because you’d simply take out your copay card at even the nicest gas stations. And the gas stations would have no reason to compete with each other on price. In fact, they could increase costs without you even knowing. They wouldn’t care because they’d get paid the big dollars anyway.
This is exactly what has happened in our health-care system: there is absolutely no reason for patients to shop for better prices, and as a result, health-care providers have no reason to compete. Insurance companies can charge higher prices without any accountability, and we’re the ones left footing the bill.
Unlike nearly every other procedure, the costs of Lasik and plastic surgery have gone down and their quality has improved, in large part because they are not covered by insurance.
As with a government-employee health-care system in the state of Indiana, Americans should be in charge of their own health dollars. This would give patients the opportunity to shop for care the same way they do with any other product or service, and costs would go down as a result.
Singapore, which uses a similar system, has costs that are about one-third the costs in our country. Doctor visits there cost only about $10 – cheaper than our copay here! And while knee-replacement surgery costs $40,000 in the U.S., it costs about $13,000 in Singapore.
Why would we want to fashion our health-care system after the failing “Medicare for All” type systems of Canada and the United Kingdom, when a system closer to the free market is so successful in Singapore?
The FDA is also a problem.
Currently, only those companies with enough money and resources are able to even get FDA approval, and It costs about a billion dollars to bring a drug to market, because the FDA imposes a process that drags on for over ten years for every drug produced. Meanwhile, patients suffer, desperately waiting for drugs that just might save their lives.
For example, hearing-aid prices have skyrocketed, but an affordable alternative called Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs) sell for as little as $20.00 from some vendors. But the FDA prohibits PSAPs from being marketed as providing the same service as hearing aids, and hearing-aid makers have worked to regulate them out of the market.
When I am your president, I will get rid of the FDA’s efficacy requirement, if not the entire FDA, so that new medicines and procedures get to patients as quickly and safely as possible. I will also make more drugs available over the counter.