By Charles Hugh Smith Apr 12th, 2012
The expansion of health insurance and government entitlements created “free money” and thus the explosion of healthcare costs. The solution is simple and “impossible”: we all pay cash.
Here’s why healthcare (a.k.a. sick-care) costs cannot be reduced; the entire system is based on vast pools of “free money”: The corporate-America or union/government employee who goes to the doctor pays a few dollars for a visit and drugs; the “real cost” is of no concern. Ditto the “real costs” charged to Medicare and Medicaid.
The link between the “consumer” of healthcare and the provider has been broken for decades. There is no “free market” in healthcare–there isn’t any market at all. We live in a Kafka-esque nightmare system in which “some are more equal than others” and hundreds of thousands of dollars are lavished on worthless tests, procedures and medications for two reasons:
1. Because there’s “free money” to pay the bills
2. So-called “defensive medicine” in which worthless tests are administered to stave off random (sometimes valid, sometimes nuisance) malpractice lawsuits.
There is a solution so simple and so radical that it is “impossible” (and of course you’re reading it here): shut down insurance and all government entitlements, and return to the “golden era” of the 1950s when everyone paid cash for healthcare. Here are the costs of childbirth as of 1952 at one of the finest hospitals on the West Coast, The Santa Monica Hospital: