Michael Cannon – who’ll be discussing healthcare reform at our Conservative Leadership Conference – has a solid piece over at TCSDaily.com. Here’s a juicy bit:
But if simply expanding coverage won’t get us there, where should policymakers focus their efforts?
They could start with the fact that federal laws have created a health care system where patients are too often spending someone else’s money when they purchase medical care. On average, third-parties pay for 86 cents out of every dollar of medical care American patients receive. That’s about the same share as under Canada’s socialized health care system.
As a result, U.S. patients demand too much medical care and pay too little attention to whether that care is cost-effective. Is it any wonder health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, our uninsured rate is too high, and quality is less than it should be?
There’s a lesson here for those who want to cover the uninsured: focus on the incentives facing the 250 million Americans who have health insurance, not on the estimated 47 million who don’t. If the federal government stopped encouraging people with health insurance to be less careful consumers, then coverage would be more affordable, the number of people without coverage would shrink, and the quality of care would improve.
Cannon adds that increased coverage will neither help lower skyrocketing costs, nor will it improve quality. Insuring the uninsured has become an unnecessary fixation. What we should be concentrating on, among other things, is increased access to healthcare. And that means undoing the regulatory havoc wreaked by state and federal governments.