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Old 05-13-2011, 02:49 PM   #121
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Contrast this with medical care. You cannot go into a physician's office or a hospital and look at a price sheet.
Yes, I agree that the lack of information on the pricing of treatment options is a huge problem. This would help drive down costs.

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to say nothing of the cartel behavior of the artificial shortage of physicians enforced by AMA.
A cartel that is enforced by the US government. The government has granted AMA the monopoly on management of the "CPT" codes used for Medicare and Medicaid billing. More fundamentally, the government has granted AMA's Council on Medical Education and Hospitals a monopoly on accreditation of medical schools and hospitals. Through this mechanism, AMA restricts the number of physicians and the number of hospitals. They have set targets for the number of graduates from each school, and can withhold accreditation from any school that exceeds these goals. This government involvement (or abdication of a governmental responsibility to a trade guild) restricts the supply of services and definitely increases medical costs.

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I definitely think that the government can do a better job.
I definitely agree with you. What they've done to date has reduced the supply of medical services (driving prices up) and dumped money into the market to purchase health services, which increases demand and prices.

We all know that medical costs have risen faster than inflation. I'm trying to find the source I read, but it said that 1/2 of the difference between the general inflation rate and the higher medical inflation rate was due to government spending in Medicare and Medicaid.

All this is not to say the government can't play a useful role in helping Americans get affordable medical care, but it needs to be done intelligently.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:59 PM   #122
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I'll agree that there a few examples of this kind of wasteful spending. But obviously, the history of the Medicare Advantage (private insurance for Medicare) being MORE expensive then regular Medicare must mean that the type of inefficiencies that can be wrung out is less than the "enhancement of shareholder value" and executive bonuses, etc., that accompany private enterprise.
Medicare Advantage is costlier than standard Medicare because of the bizarre cost target bidding system established by the government. It's ridiculous, and if I believed in conspiracies I'd suspect that it was designed this way to assure Medicare Advantage produced higher costs and therefore "failed".
None of us have seen the benefits true competition would bring to medical care in the US. As you point out, it works well for giving us great products and services in other parts of our economy. Medical care is different is some important ways, but not so different that human nature doesn't apply anymore.

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest”
Adam Smith

When it comes to improving quality and lowering costs, I trust enlightened self-interest much more than any committee. Let's put that force to work.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:17 PM   #123
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All this is not to say the government can't play a useful role in helping Americans get affordable medical care, but it needs to be done intelligently.
Surely you jest.

Ha
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:24 PM   #124
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