Nov

20

 Medical care is, of course, a right, and one that should be protected by the federal government.  Instead, federal and state governments actively restrict the right to offer medical care.  The expensive, complex, cumbersome, ridiculous health care bill in Congress would only make matters worse by increasing demand and doing nothing to free supply.

A Forbes column by Daniel Fisher (Medical Emergency) discusses the restrictive policies engineered by medical schools, mandatory residency programs, federal subsidies and hospitals. (Paul Starr's fascinating history "The Transformation of American Medicine" tells the bigger story of government intervention in medical care.)

Economic freedom for medical care would simply mean removing government force from the supply side of the equation.  Investors would be able to develop and staff new hospitals and medical schools, foreign doctors and nurses would be able to apply to enter the U.S. to gain certification to practice medicine.  Insurance companies would be free to reimburse medical care provided by new or expanded hospitals and clinics.

Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and other firms would be free to expand medical services offered in their stores, hire new doctors and nurses, and even develop their own online and in-service medical training programs.  Insurance companies could choose not to reimburse care from new providers if they believe such care to be substandard.

The Forbes article notes especially the coming shortage of primary care doctors, estimating that the shortage would reach 40,000 in ten years even without expanded "free" medical services if pending "health care" legislation passes.  With medical schools and residency slots locked down by special interests with state power, supply cannot rise to meet demand.

How many competent nurses, after five or ten years on the job gaining experience and expertise, might choose to take on training to become primary care physicians?  We won't know until such economic freedom became available to nurses.  Insurance company executives often insist on extensive physicals before writing million-dollar insurance policies.  And they often insist the physicals be done by nurses rather than doctors, who as a rule take more time.

How much should a primary care doctor earn?  Before government intervention in medical care, they earned about what other professionals earned.  If government officials and the American public were to somehow be roused from their ignorance of the history and economics of medical care, and insist that freedom of contract be again protected, tens of thousands of competent primary care physicians would soon emerge from new training programs and medical schools to offer quality medical care for Americans of all income levels.  People would likely pay modest fees for service in cash or with credit cards, using medical insurance only for catastrophic medical problems.  Mutual aid societies like the local Eagles, Masons, Moose, and Sons of Italy, might again hire "lodge doctors" to provide medical care to members.  More likely thousands of the nations health clubs might offer a range of "health care" services to members with part-time staff doctors and nurses.

Specialty hospitals operating on broken bones and joint replacements would not also treat people with infections.  Medical costs from accidental infections would drop dramatically. (See another Forbes article, Bad Medicine, for this regulatory disaster story.

Competent primary care doctors carry a vast amount of diagnostic information and experience in their heads.  Alternatively, medical care providers could have a more modest degree of information and experience in their head, but know how to quickly search vast computer databases and diagnostic software for cutting edge information. Imagine a world where all our diagnostic and repair services for cars, airplanes, and other machinery relied upon what mechanics could remember learning about or had fixed before.

Editors note: we find this PajamasMedia article highly relevant.

Jeff Watson points out:

ShrinersOne place that provides medical care for children is the network of 22 Shriners Hospitals in the United States. Run by the Shriners, an organization of Free and Accepted Masons, this network provides free medical services for children without any financial obligation or insurance requirements from the families. Entirely supported through donations, Masons raise around five million dollars a day to fund the network of Shriners Hospitals. The quality of these hospitals is first rate, and the facilities are state of the art. Many Shriners Hospitals offer training and residency programs for MDs. All Shriners Hospitals are committed to the uplifting and complete care of sick children in a family-friendly environment. The burn units are among the best in the country. Donations to the Shriners Hospitals are tax free, and much needed as current conditions and increased expenses might require the closing of six hospitals. The Shriners are desperate to keep the endangered facilities open and provide critical care for the communities they serve.


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3 Comments so far

  1. Steve Leslie on November 23, 2009 8:27 am

    Mr Rehmke states that medical care is of course a right. Where does this claim come from. It is certainly not guaranteed in the constitution. This is a major point that in my view is being overlooked. I will accede that under certain laws it is a right to seek medical care such as that which is provided at a emergency center of a hospital. However, I would be very interested in learning which case law provides that other than medicare and medicaid are rights. If it is a right then who guarantees it. I am very certain that if I seek medical care from a top surgeon he is not obligated to provide his services to me. He may do it under certain pro bono ways but this would be a personal decision and that surgeon could not be compelled to do so despite the protestations of the masses.

    Now I will accept that it is a privelege meaning that if one pays the agreed upon premiums that according to the contract one received the payments for the agreed upon coverage.

    This is where most of the mis information resides. Let's say that if the Administration gets legislation passed, there are no guarantees that certain procedures will be covered.

    The same holds true in criminal. In Miranda we learn that the Supreme Court has held that we have a right to an attorney……. it does not state that we have a right to Gerry Spence Roy Black Racehorse Haines or Robert Shapiro.

    In Florida it is a privelage to drive an auto and such privelages may be taken away by refusing to submit to a DUI test.

    This is where the water gets muddy and in my view where the greater question needs to be addressed. That is simply after all the back-door politics is through what type of health care will I have available to me and my family and from whom will I receive it. Then the question becomes who is going to pay for it will it be me or the taxpayer or some sort of joint pay. As Hamlet said "Ay there's the rub."

  2. Steve Leslie on November 23, 2009 8:50 am

    I forgot one other place where one has a right to health care is at a VA hospital or clinic. If one wants to see the quality of health care coverage the government provides ask a vet or better yet go Walter Reid Army Hospital and see the dilapidated conditions and inferior care that our finest young men and women receive who served and protected our country from aliens foreign and domestic.

    Folks it is an illusion a canard to think that the government can run health care better than private industry. Certainly there are many holes in the current system but by creating a whole new black hole will in no way alleviate the problem. In my view, it will only exacerbate it. But hey who am I just some small business entrepreneur in Florida. One thing I do know something about is being a schmuck and that is what this Congress and this Administration thinks Americans as a whole are. And this applies to both sides of the aisle.

  3. Gregory Rehmke on November 24, 2009 1:18 am

    The right to provide medical care should be protected. The provision of medical services for pay or for free between consenting adults should not be infringed.

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