08 June 2009

WTF? on public option

From the Times:
But critics argue that with low administrative costs and no need to produce profits, a public plan will start with an unfair pricing advantage. They say that if a public plan is allowed to pay doctors and hospitals at levels comparable to Medicare's, which are substantially below commercial insurance rates, it could set premiums so low it would quickly consume the market.
When in hell did anyone ever mandate that health care should be on a profit basis? Or that private insurance should be protected by public policy from administrative inefficiency?? Unbelievable. If for profit health insurance can't compete with nonprofit, including public nonprofit, health insurance, it deserves to die. It's good old fashioned American competition. For crying out loud!

It's clear to everyone with any realism at all in this debate that we have to find ways to disincentivize the profit motive in medicine. The needs of patients must come first, last, and always, with profit not a consideration at all. (Profit, as opposed to financial viability; these are not the same thing). Patient first means appropriate care, not necessarily the most care or the most expensive care (usually not, in fact, see this in The New Yorker).

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