Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I've kept up with the healthcare industry for almost 20 years, since getting a job straight out of college where researching healthcare payment systems was a primary function. I noted then, and still believe, that government intervention is singularly responsible for the ever-increasing costs, and I remain amazed that our system continues to produce such quality care.

It started with the creation of Blue Cross/Blue Shield back in the 1930's, then continued with government-granted tax benefits for indemnity group health plans (which caused the disconnect we have today between the care that a person receives and how much he pays for it). Medicare has probably singled-handedly held back preventive medicine in this country, by spending hundreds of billions on highly interventionist care in the last few weeks of life, and the National Institutes of Health spends as much on basic research--without the cost-benefit justication that profits require--as the pharmaceutical industry. All of these governmental interventions, among others, have shaped the American healthcare system into the mess that it is today.

This essay by Dr. Onkar Gate of the Ayn Rand Institute just confirms my own beliefs. It's worth a read.

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