Monday, January 6, 2014
Health care capitalism
Here is an interesting, if chilling, article about one man's quest to make money off of the new health care law. It is interesting because it shows a possible way that the further privatization of health care could end up saving patients and the country some money, by efficient companies' sweeping in and cutting costs due to market incentives. It is chilling because nowhere in the article does real patient wellbeing (and certainly not what would be best healthwise for the USA as a nation) come into the picture, except as a corollary to making money. Despite capitalism's undeniable potential for improving efficiency through market incentives, I do not see how making private companies rich can figure into an honest plan to improve health for a population. This is especially the case in light of my recent dealings with different healthcare companies in the aftermath of my child's birth; it is clear to me that no one has my best interest in mind, but rather they are looking at the easiest ways to make money off of me. There will always be rent-seeking, perverse incentives, and dirty dealing in any poorly-regulated capitalist market (and even in well-regulated ones), and when you are holding human beings' health in your hands, such dishonest practices become even more despicable and unacceptable for society to allow. It is clear to me that no capitalist system of healthcare is ever going to be as effective as a well-run public program. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be getting that anytime soon in the US.