How Would You Lower Healthcare Costs Through the Free Market?
Romie Stott

“ The premise of the stock market, and the value of active investors like Warren Buffet, is that they pay attention to what companies are doing, and whether they seem like they’re worth what the stock price suggests they are. That’s it. That’s how they make their money: by collecting information. The rest of us benefit because we see how they act on that information, and we find out too, just a step behind.”

I’m not sure why you are introducing the stock market into this because it isn’t in any way comparable.

The stock markets simply facilitate the exchange of money and information. You buy and sell stock through them. But you don’t do that in the health care market. YOU buy insurance. You have no idea what medical provider you are “investing” in. You don’t know what the local hospitals charge for the services they provide or what their profit/loss margins are.

When Warren Buffet invests he looks at the actual companies he is considering and buys or sells THEIR stocks THROUGH the stock market. He doesn’t just send a monthly check to the NSYE or NASDAQ and hope they can find a company with a good return for him.

As a health care system user, you and I throw our money at an insurer and hope like hell they can work things out with the companies that actually provide the health care without ANY information about those actual providers at all.

“ When information can’t move, the market breaks. It stops being able to function as a market, and turns into something like gambling or extortion.”

Yup. And that is pretty much exactly what the health care market has become.

It’s cheaper for everyone if I find out that I have elevated cholesterol numbers, take statins, and bring that down. That is some grade-A personal responsibility, right there. It’s not only clean living; it is way less costly than waiting until I have a heart attack and need emergency triple bypass surgery — cheaper for me, cheaper for insurers, cheaper for surgeons who don’t have to carry malpractice insurance for a difficult procedure they had no chance to prep for, cheaper for everyone else in my insurance pool and everyone else who uses the hospital.

Well, no. It’s actually cheaper if you don’t see your doctor, never find out that you have elevated cholesterol and your heart blows out when you know the Final Jeopardy answer and all of the contestants miss an obvious easy answer. After a few weeks, your mail builds up, the mail carrier starts to get suspicious, they notify the police who come by for a wellness check to find you dead in your Lazyboy recliner. For less than $5K you are cremated and buried.

“ Nope. So I’m going to fight like mad to stay blissfully ignorant about my own health. That’s me being a rational actor.”

Really? THAT is being a rational actor? That can only be true if you place absolutely zero value on your own life. And if you don’t place any value on your own life, then why should the rest of society?

That’s how you know they’re not serious.

Well, let’s be honest here. There isn’t ANY politician that is serious about fixing health care. And to be 100% honest, most people in general aren’t serious about fixing it. Most of us just want to find some way to get someone else to pay for it.

The political left made the insurance carriers the bad guys and pushed Obamacare through. They didn’t touch big pharma or any of the medical care providers in order to win over their political support. Now the political right is trying to un-do all of that to appease their political base.

If someone were really serious about “fixing” health care, they’d get employers out of the picture entirely and get rid of the entire insurance industry as we know it. We’d each contact the available healthcare providers in our area and THEY would “sell” us an insurance policy where they would provide for all of our heath care needs for a set annual price. The State could easily manage the shared risk aspect of people with pre-existing conditions much as many States do with high-risk drivers. That would ensure that the high-risk/costly patients were spread among all heath care providers with some level of equity.