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Author: Pablum Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 739978  
Subject: Re: Health Care Crisis: Open to Suggestions Date: 5/2/2001 11:20 AM
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Following this thread, and the earlier one on "healthcare in retirement," has been fascinating. I'm simply amazed at how many either accept the inevitability of, or actually desire the eventual government takeover of medicine.

I don't believe this is an answer.

Golfwaymore, it's probably too late to suggest this, as you need an immediate solution I couldn't begin to supply, but looking toward the future, I suggest you contact Forbes magazine and learn about the insurance incentive program they intitiated several years ago. It may not be appropriate for a firm your size, but my understanding is that it has been very successful at Forbes.

It is market-based, and amounts to giving each employee a yearly dollar amount, then letting them shop for their own insurance. If they spend less than Forbes gives them, they get to keep the difference. There's clearly a great deal more to it than that, and I'm sure like every insurance plan it will have it's weak points, but the general concept is to provide an incentive to the employee to keep health expenses down.

To others on this board: I certainly don't profess to have many answers regarding health care in this country. But I can clearly state to all of you that government run health care is NOT an answer, and will be far worse that anything we have today.

What will rescue the health care / insurance industry is capitalism; market-based reforms that will remove many of the regulations that straight-jacket doctors, insurance companies and hospitals. The aim should be to allow each one of us to shop for health insurance and health care the way we shop for shoes or a VCR. Insurance needs to return to the more traditional (now outmoded) concept of protecting us from catastrophy, not paying for every routine exam, procedure or item. We should also be allowed to purchase the type and extent of insurance we want---if I don't want mental health benefits or drug abuse coverage, I shouldn't have to get it. I don't have that choice. Right now, I get insurance I don't want and don't need.

For all of you prone to debate: I know capitalism isn't perfect, but it sure as hell has proven to be better than anything else. Competition, freedom of choice, minimal regulation and less fear of litigation are the building blocks to successfully deal with this country's health industry problems.

That doesn't mean I'm opitmistic any of this will occur....

And BTW, duggg, I tend to think the opposite of your prediction:

<<....medical schools will be getting fewer and fewer applicants.>>

I don't think you'll see fewer applicants or fewer doctors, though I agree burnout is currently taking its toll on quality doctors. (My primary care physician was one. He left after 10 years as an intern to take a more sane job as a teaching professor.) I think there will be just as many or more, but the quality of the applicant will greatly decline, which will create more problems down the road. The industry simply isn't going to attract the best and brightest anymore.

Galeno is right, but I'd temper his comments as well: to most outsiders, our system looks absolutely crazy. Perhaps Costa Rica's system currently appears more sane by comparison. But with due respect, CR's system didn't produce the medical marvels, the sophisticated machines, the advanced surgical techniques or the birth of biotechnology. The US system of capitalist competition, freedom and profit did, and will continue unless the government regulates it all to death.



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