Way back when, we republished a sketch of Don Frankenfeld's proposed health care plan. It gathered a few comments and then seemed to just be gathering dust, lying dormant from Aug 4 until just the other day when "That One Guy" checked in and asked Don some pretty interesting questions.
So, TOG asks Don:
Frakenfeld: I think your proposal is more suited to funding higher education than Health care. Costs are what they are in part because we are not provided with a list of charges before receiving care, but only afterward. Often the charges are for things we never asked for.
We were quoted $12,000 for prenatal care and delivery. Complications at the time of delivery ran that up to over $75,000. I promise I wouldn't have stopped to shop around while my wife was hemorrhaging.
I certainly would not have risked trying to get her to another hospital with a lower rate.
The controls the market can impose only work in the presence of competition. There is only competition in the non-life threatening area eg. colds, muscle strain, back pain, allergies. As soon as blood is spilled, all competition is over and market forces are a joke, even in urban settings.
We don't use market forces for some of the most important things in our lives. No privatized municipal water or sewer systems, for example. When market principals have been applied to other utilities such as electricity, Enron and %1,000 increases in charges have resulted.
Which brings us round to the question," Should Health care be a utility or a commodity or a discretionary purchase, as it presently is for me and 40 some million other Americans?"
And Don replies via an email to me:
For starters, I recommend the lead story in this month's Atlantic Monthly, "How American Health Care Killed My Father," by David Goldhill, It is a lengthy and articulate analysis of the current mess, and concludes with a recommended solution that is very similar to my own.