Imagine this: Healthcare — the whole system — for half as much. Better, more effective. No rationing. Everybody in.
Because we all want that. And because we can. This can be done. Let me tell you how.
The economic fundamentals of healthcare in the United States are unique, amazingly complex, multi-layered and opaque. It takes a lot of work and time to understand them, work and time that few of the experts opining about healthcare on television have done. Once you do understand them, it takes serious independence, a big ornery streak, and maybe a bit of a career death wish to speak publicly about how the industry that pays your speaking and consulting fees should, can, and must strive to make half as much money. Well, I turn 67 this year and I’m cranky as hell, so let’s go.
The Wrong Question
We are back again in the cage fight over healthcare in Congress. But in all these fights we are only arguing over one question: Who pays? The government, your employer, you? A different answer to that question will distribute the pain differently, but it won’t cut the pain in half.
There are other questions to ask whose answers could get us there, such as:
- Who do we pay?
- How do we pay them?
- For what, exactly, are we paying?
Because the way we are paying now ineluctably drives us toward paying too much, for not enough, and for things we don’t even need.