Why Will I Write about Politics?
You ask, “Carolyn, why do you want to open up the messy world of politics on your blog about health and personal finance?” Well, it matters. Lawmakers continually make changes in our health care and economic system and we need to keep up with what they are doing and push back when it doesn’t make sense.
Do not fear! Both parties write good and bad policy and I just call it like I see it when it happens. On my Forbes blog, when I wrote something good about the Affordable Care Act, I got hate mail from the right. When I wrote something bad about the Affordable Care Act, I got hate mail from the left.
My “lane” at Forbes is health and personal finance, so you won’t see much political commentary there. I am so excited to have this site – I look forward to sharing content that doesn’t fit in with what I’m contracted to write for my other publications. And I look forward to your feedback and thoughts on how we can fix our political mess! Stay tuned for more.
I’m not sure if this is politics or not; probably more like economics.
Often with proposals like the ACA, a “public option” is touted as the device that will cause more competition, thereby controlling costs. This idea is “getting close” to the right idea, but is catastrophically flawed. It is very frightening that people who make this proposal refuse to discuss the (apparently) unintended consequences of this type of system. I say “apparently” because maybe some want the consequences it would bring.
If you put a public (government) option into a market, and if those in charge of this program decide they want to lower prices for whatever they want, they can. They have NO other market forces keeping them from doing so. They will subsidize any costs they want to. After some time the private firms will go out of business and the government option will be all that remains; otherwise known as socialized medicine.
If you want socialized medicine, please just admit it.
Also know that if you get socialized medicine, say goodbye to innovation. About 80% of innovation comes from the US now- the country with the least socialized medicine (as flawed as the US system might be).
Recent innovations (just a few): HepC cure, various robotic cancer surgeries, 3D printing…these will cease.
I would have to disagree with the premise that a public option would put private firms out of business. Even though the government has the option to spend whatever it wants to support the system, most of our country would not support that unbridled spending, so it is highly unlikely it would ever happen. Australia is a glorious example of the push and pull of the private market. They have a public option or people can opt for totally private care. The number of people who opt for private care has varied since their system started in 1984 – when the value of privately provided service has waned, more opt for public. When private service is more desirable, they opt for private. You can read about their system here: https://www.health.gov.au/about-us/the-australian-health-system
In regards to innovation – humans are inherently innovative, and in reality, most of the innovations came to being from government and educational institutions and government funding. Health insurers add nothing to innovation. Only 17% of pharma revenue and 7% of medical device maker revenue goes to research. I think saying “goodbye to innovation” is a bit dramatic. America is by far the leader in the world for medical innovation but I’m not sure where you get the 80% as the U.S. share of innovation – I would love to see that data. Just like you said the government could pay as much as it wants for a public option – if innovation is a key goal (which it should be) what keeps the government from funding that too?
Thanks for the comment. I love unbridled conversation. Sorry it took me a bit to respond – busy time of year.