Health Care

Yes, access to it is limited by overregulation:

The problem is that healthcare consumers have limited options. At the two ends of the spectrum, they can see a licensed doctor, or they can do it themselves. One option is extremely expensive, time-consuming, and reliable, and the other is free and still time-consuming but not as reliable. In between, there are few other choices. It’s possible to use a service like Teladoc or visit a drugstore clinic in some areas for minor issues like strep throat, an earache, or a sprained ankle, but in the absence of the current system of occupational licensing, there’d be a much broader continuum of possibilities between my unlettered amateur visits to Dr. Google and visits to an actual doctor’s office.

The problem is compounded by the fact that we pay for health-care via “insurance” coverage, which isn’t really insurance but just prepaid health-care. This system requires lots and lots of rules about what can and can’t be covered and what constitutes medicine. The entire healthcare market would function much more efficiently if there were more options. For treating a lot of conditions, you don’t need someone who went to four years of medical school and worked through a grueling residency. Better to save that talent for more challenging stuff and allow people to seek marginal improvements over DIY diagnosis.

But instead, we’re forced to buy “insurance” that isn’t really insurance, and they’ve totally destroyed the concept of insurance.

5 thoughts on “Health Care”

  1. which isn’t really insurance but just prepaid health-care.

    This really depends on the policy. My insurance doesn’t cover anything and the deductible is sky high. It just subsidizes the gold plated Obamacare and other high end policies.

  2. Insurance remains insurance. Calling something a thing it’s not is a different issue (lack of education… especially by the media which is supposed to have the job of informing.)

    If misinformation carried a financial penalty like a speeding ticket we might be able to reduce it a bit?

    Of course quantity and quality are reduced by regulation. That’s the underlying point of regulation. It very rarely if ever benefits the consumer.

    The central problem to be fixed is a knowledge problem (which regulation only addresses tangentially.) Plus allowing adults to be responsible for their own lives. Affordable insurance would always be abundant (because it’s basically just a well defined math problem. Which explains the abundance of actuarial tables) and well regulated by the consumers themselves.

  3. A number of my wife’s relatives (and she has a large number) cannot afford or do not have work-provided health “insurance.” They take care of their doctor visits by first letting the front-office staff that they intend to pay cash. After a brief negotiation, they arrive at a price for the visit. It always turns out to be significantly less than premiums plus co-pays for health “insurance.” It doesn’t cover catastrophic eventualities, which is really what insurance is all about.

    I think that model is what we should all be adopting as a going in position, at least those of us who can afford to take care of ourselves.

  4. When I became an independent contractor in 1991, long before ACA and even before Hillary’s attempt at socialized medicine, I was young and healthy and didn’t think much of health “insurance”. However a friend did convince me of the necessity of catastrophic coverage. So I did some research, including in those pre-Web browser days, going to the public library and grabbing up old copies of Consumer Reports that in those days usually ran health insurance articles on a semi-annual basis. I found a highly rated company in Iowa that sold catastrophic-only health insurance plans. With a $5000 annual deductible, no well-care doctor visit coverage, no dental coverage, no vision coverage and no drug benefit, but beyond that, 100% coverage for all additional costs for ambulance service, hospital stays, surgery, ER charges, labs etc. up to a cap of $2 million dollars. Such plans are no longer legal to sell post ACA. Monthly cost? $69.

    1. Also, in those pre-Web days, there were these folks called “insurance brokers” who worked on commission and could sell health insurance plans from a number of different providers. Some of the best were very knowledgeable about the products they sold and could answer almost any question on any plan they sold. If they couldn’t answer it, they would call the company and get an answer for you. A plan’s terms were specified in the written documents that came with the insurance information folder that the broker gave you. I don’t see these people around anymore.

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