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Rep. Paul Ryan has proposed to replace Medicare with vouchers for future generations, stating that competition among private sector plans will bring down healthcare costs.
Why does he think that will work, given that we have had private sector competition for 30-plus years, resulting in ever-escalating costs and millions of our fellow citizens uninsured?
This has even been tried with the Medicare population. According to the New York Times, “Medicare Advantage is a 15-year failed experiment in privatization.
Running Medicare through private insurance companies was supposed to save money through the magic of the marketplace; in reality, private insurers, with their extra overhead, have never been able to compete on a level playing field with conventional Medicare.”
It is time for citizens to realize, and politicians to admit, that “the magic of the marketplace” simply does not work for healthcare.
Consumers behave differently: When mother has a stroke, we don’t shop the best deal or the lowest price.
And the monetary incentives maximize expensive treatments, office visits, surgeries and medications.
In other words, the sicker we are and the more treatment we need, the more profit is made by health care and drug companies.
We lag far behind other developed nations in healthcare, spending far more per person with poorer outcomes.
Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.”
It is high time we end our experiments with free-market healthcare and take responsibility for all our citizens and the outcomes we want.
Meanwhile, the free market can work its magic for true commodities.