Posted by: grokscience | February 1, 2012

Health Care Reform

The Affordable Care Act continues to spur debate and confusion. What are the consequences of the health care reform act? On this program, Prof. Jonathan Gruber discussed health care reform.

Where’s my aspirin? 😉




  1. Science? Wow. Speaker says he wishes open mind from his readers, but I wonder if he had open mind from the other side when considering the economics of cost.

    Insurance costs are high due to regulations. For example, doctors need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in education to become doctors due to regulations (must have license). Insurance companies are regulated (more licenses and fees to the gov’t). Hospitals, nurses, med companies, every step of the way the government has made it more difficult to become health care provider. Even medicine is regulated via FDA. Simple supply and demand: restrict the supply, prices will go up. Increase the demand by regulating more while making supply even more difficult with more regulations, prices will go up even more.

    And this difficulty for supply gets worse every year. How many regulations (call it laws, requirements, fees or anything needed to set one up) did the government abolish and how many new ones come to play? It increases every year at a dizzying rate, because it’s “fun” to make new regulations, but not so fun to analyze existing ones to see if they can be abolished.

    It’s no surprise that the reform is also of the more regulations from the left. Will this work? Not really. Short term may show an illusion of coverage, but long term will lead to shortages. Imagine if it takes me 1.5 months to get an appointment with my doctor now, if 30 million “poor” all of a sudden compete for the same level of service without increasing supply. If left to market forces, prices will skyrocket. If that happens, gov’t will surely step in to “save the poor” with price control. But price control will make shortages far worse. Current form of health insurance as regulated by the government is form of price control.

    True reform is to remove regulations, not obligate folks to do something. Here’s an idea: how about abolish all forms of regulations and setup a national “recommendation” center? Anyone can be a doctor or insurance company or medicine company, no rules, no regulations, no licenses. But the gov’t agency will go through the facts and recommend only those who are “qualified” by careful, but never mandate others from practicing. There may even be private analysis companies, something like consumer reports for medicine.

    Cheapskates can seek care from med school dropout doctor (maybe he specialize in putting on bandaid) while those who value care will read the gov’t recommendation, or better yet private recommendation firm’s recommendations, and seek better care. In a word, replace agencies like the FDA (food and drug administration) with FDR (food and drug recommendation). But this will never happen. It’s no fun in making recommendations, but having the sadistic power to control people’s lives like a herd of cattle. Now that’s fun.

    To paraphrase the late Hitchens and animal farm, we are all mammals, some more sadistic than others.

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