One thing you can find in the good ol’ USA that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere in the world is a healthy helping of unadulterated capitalism.
My first trip to Europe (the Netherlands) I was shocked when they kicked us out of the office at 5 PM sharp. “There are laws about that,” I was told, “you have to get permission to work past 5.” I’ve never been kicked out of a building when I was more than willing to work an extra hour or 2. I don’t know how that works out for the Red Light District. “Sorry, your 15 minutes is up. The government does not allow me to spend more then 15 minutes with one client”. Who knows?
But back on topic. If the word insurance is mentioned in the health care reform bill, I believe it will fail. I believe that what is wrong with health care today is insurance. It creates an unnecessary (and perhaps hugely hindering) middle man.
When you go to Wal-Mart to have your oil changed and they put the wrong kind of oil in, remove the wrong filter or damage a tire, you wouldn’t be expected to pay them. Why would you pay for a job that’s done improperly. But it’s this kind of attitude that promotes good service and good competition amongst auto repair facilities.
Insurance has the same affect as government upon capitalism. It eliminates the need for competition.
Now let’s say you go to the doctor because you’ve got a headache. The doctor can run an X-Ray on your arm, make you pee in a jar, take a blood sample, etc. It’s all not necessarily necessary, but you don’t care and the doctor doesn’t care because insurance will pay regardless. It’s not worth your trouble to shop around for the best deal. It’s not possible for doctors to advertise flu shots at buy 1 get 1 free, because insurance pays for all of it anyway.
If the doctor messes something up, you can withhold your co-pay. So on a $1500 screw up maybe you refuse to pay your $300 co pay, but the doctor is still going to get his $1200 from the insurance company. There is no financial risk. Thus malpractice is born. And how do doctor’s compensate for malpractice. You guessed it. Malpractice insurance. A further elimination of fiscal responsibility.