Government mandated health care, as called for in the Affordable Care Act, would provide health insurance for most Americans, but it does not solve our access problem, nor will it drive down costs. We absolutely need health care reform in America. Our per capita health care spending, both public and private, exceeds all other developed countries’. Despite this, we do not achieve better outcomes on many important health measures.
During this election year, Americans should be demanding the whole solution: insurance for all, better access, with incentives to live healthier and contain costs.
Health care in America is so expensive because it is a controlled and inefficient market that is hamstrung by middlemen (“third party”) insurance and government oligopolies. Both providers (doctors) and consumers (patients) have few choices with whom to contract and little knowledge of the money changing hands. This opaqueness and decoupling of the consumption and delivery of care makes it inefficient and costly. That is, it is easy to spend other people’s money; you don’t care if your doctor orders a third MRI on your knee prior to your knee arthroscopy.