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Why health care competition won't work (since you're so stupid)
CNN ^ | 12/27/11 | Amitai Etzioni

Posted on 12/27/2011 5:30:18 PM PST by Libloather

Why health care competition won't work
By Amitai Etzioni, Special to CNN
updated 2:08 PM EST, Tue December 27, 2011

(CNN) -- A proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden to allow those who retire in the future to chose between Medicare and private health care insurance for seniors is the latest addition to the drive to increase competition in health care.

Mitt Romney recently released a health care proposal that would introduce vouchers, which would allow consumers to choose where to take their business, although he did not include Medicare as an option. Newt Gingrich's plan suggests a variety of ways to increase "price competition in the industry."

And President Obama's health care overhaul also includes competition, to take place in new statewide exchanges, in which individuals and businesses will be able to find and compare insurance plans in a centralized marketplace.

But research shows that competition in health care cannot be made to work effectively. As patients, we are just not equipped to absorb and process the information needed to make healthy choices on our own.

(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: commiecare; competition; healthcare; obamacare
Editor's note: Amitai Etzioni is a sociologist and professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including "The Limits of Privacy." He was a senior adviser to the Carter administration and has taught at Columbia and Harvard universities and the University of California, Berkeley.

'Nuff said.

1 posted on 12/27/2011 5:30:29 PM PST by Libloather
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To: Libloather

What a maroon


2 posted on 12/27/2011 5:34:25 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: Libloather

Anyhow, a thing need not be perfect in order to be good. It would be far better to have an embarrassment of choices, like wheat bread or canned peas at the typical supermarket, than to be stuck with the one “state” brand.


3 posted on 12/27/2011 5:37:36 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: Libloather

People on the Democrat plantation may be too stupid to decide...


4 posted on 12/27/2011 5:39:35 PM PST by OrioleFan
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To: Libloather

If we’re not equipped to make healthy choices on our own, how can we be trusted to vote in elections?

End liberalism NOW!


5 posted on 12/27/2011 5:39:35 PM PST by Oldeconomybuyer (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.)
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To: Libloather

“But research shows that competition in health care cannot be made to work effectively.”

Fortunately for us, “research has shown” that the geniuses who run our government are so much better equipped to know what we need than we ourselves are. And you can see as much due to the fact that they are doing such a wonderful job of regulating our healthcare industry.


6 posted on 12/27/2011 5:40:08 PM PST by Brilliant
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To: Libloather

This guy is educated to the point of ignorance.


7 posted on 12/27/2011 5:42:17 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny (Why do people keep telling me Killcult is a Religion Of Peace?)
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To: Libloather

There are more than a few good points in the article. It is exceedingly hard to pick good professionals outside one’s area of expertise. I may be a doctor, but picking good lawyers, accountants, etc is very difficult and I have made my share of mistakes. Being a good accountant doesn’t mean you can pick a good endodontist. Price may be important; cheap but wrong advice can be disastrous. Docs willing to tackle really difficult cases may have worse outcome statistics than a weak one that cherry picks the easy cases. I see docs with devoted followings; sometimes this is a triumph of marketing and personality over skills. Some of the surgeons with the best judgement and outcomes are lacking in the bedside manner department.

At the end of the day, these are very difficult decisions, and one is fooling oneself by thinking the Consumer Reports approach will solve all problems.


8 posted on 12/27/2011 5:48:05 PM PST by RedElement
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To: Libloather
..taught at Columbia and Harvard universities..

Surely they don't mean THE Harvard whose grads are responsible for every single problem this country faces today?

9 posted on 12/27/2011 5:56:58 PM PST by GrandJediMasterYoda (Nancy Pelosi - The #1 reason why we need a Constitutional amendment for Congressional drug testing.)
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To: Libloather

so...basically, he’s been hiding from the real world his entire life.


10 posted on 12/27/2011 6:00:00 PM PST by BookmanTheJanitor
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To: Libloather
didn't he also do the music for some Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns?
11 posted on 12/27/2011 6:04:04 PM PST by WOBBLY BOB (Congress: Looting the future to bribe the present.)
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To: Psycho_Bunny
This guy is educated to the point of ignorance.

Not quite related, but here's a fact that might get a few jaws dropped: Do you know which Royal has the highest educational attainment in the history of the British Monarchy?

Prince Charles! (M.A., Cambridge.)

12 posted on 12/27/2011 6:10:12 PM PST by danielmryan
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To: RedElement

Medicine is not like buying gasoline. If a pill keeps you alive and costs 100 dollars a pill, you will be desperate to pay it. The guy selling it knows you will be desperate to buy it. What is a pill? Processed chemicals, and a person with knowledge to measure and dispense it to you. Money is the barrier that keeps one from having it. Yet making it free does not encourage future development and production of it. Free market vs socialism. How about letting medicine be run by clergy, priests and nuns. These people are willing to do it at a lower cost then non clergy going to school to dispense the same skills. Why? One does it for profit and the other does it as a service. Maybe this is an area that can be left to religious people vs corporation and government.


13 posted on 12/27/2011 6:15:10 PM PST by Fee
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To: RedElement
At the end of the day, these are very difficult decisions, and one is fooling oneself by thinking the Consumer Reports approach will solve all problems.

You make some excellent points but the way I see it is that we are not going to reduce healthcare costs to a manageable level without the market style approach. The free market has never been devoid of evil, it is simply the lesser of all evils by far. Frankly I would rather chance my own wits and abilities and make others do the same than have the government "protect" me.

14 posted on 12/27/2011 6:16:51 PM PST by RightOnTheBorder
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Haven’t you learned helplessness, yet?

The big world of medicine and health is too scary for little people like us. I bet you didn’t go to an Ivy League school. That’s the problem. If you had you wouldn’t be so quick to think for yourself!


15 posted on 12/27/2011 6:17:41 PM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: 1010RD

And yet these same liberals behave as though that’s what the people actually wanted when they ACORN themselves into office.


16 posted on 12/27/2011 6:22:53 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Sometimes progressives find their scripture in the penumbra of sacred bathroom stall writings (Tzar))
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To: Libloather
But research shows that competition in health care cannot be made to work effectively.

Baloney. Medicare and Medicaid are basically 50% of what we spend on health care now and they totally screw up the market for health care by paying too much for some things and too little for other things. Insurance companies have to adjust their rates in response to this.

If you look at a part of the medical profession where Medicare and Medicaid do not exist and neither do insurance companies, you can see the market at work.

The best example is the eye surgery they do, which cost over $5000 per eye when the first started doing it, and now it is less than $1000 per eye. Market forces at work.
17 posted on 12/27/2011 6:36:12 PM PST by microgood
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To: RightOnTheBorder

The priest and clergy won’t be happy paying the 100,000 dollar / year malpractice premiums.


18 posted on 12/27/2011 6:38:01 PM PST by pterional
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To: microgood

Chiropractic and cosmetic surgery are two others prices held down by market forces.


19 posted on 12/27/2011 6:48:44 PM PST by scottteng (Tax government employees til they quit and find something useful to do)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

No, they really don’t. Not to sound too cynical, but except for the minority of Koolaid drinkers government bureaucrats know where their bread is buttered and if Americans learned that they could live without them...

I’m on the frontlines here in America’s East Berlin - Illinios. I know first hand of what I speak.


20 posted on 12/27/2011 6:53:12 PM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: Libloather
Amitai Etzioni is a sociologist and professor ...

Is that old socialist windbag still alive?

21 posted on 12/27/2011 7:00:38 PM PST by Albion Wilde (A land of hyper-legalisms is not the same as a land of law. --Mark Steyn)
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To: Libloather

I may or may not be smart enough to make the correct decisions.

However it is my moral right to make MY decisions that affect MY life.


22 posted on 12/27/2011 7:06:00 PM PST by desertfreedom765
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To: Libloather

The government provides no added value to health care (it actually reduces its value). It only imposes unneeded cost. Cut out the middleman, and stop government monopolization of healthcare.


23 posted on 12/27/2011 7:11:45 PM PST by grumpygresh (Democrats delenda est; zero sera dans l'enfer bientot.)
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To: Libloather
As Mark Twain wisely observed years ago, and it's still as sage today as then(and I paraphrase):

...stupid people constitute the grand overwhelming majority of this and all other nations...

However, it's wrongheaded to punish the balance of the population by denying them some autonomy and participation in a market-based health care delivery model. Not a surprise coming from an elitist snob like this ass clown. I say throw him under the Obamascare bus as a kind of consumer guinea pig. He can then write up an outcomes (these sorts loves this methodology so much) oriented review of his experiences...if he survives the experiment.

24 posted on 12/27/2011 7:17:16 PM PST by Dysart (#Changeitback)
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To: Albion Wilde
Is that old socialist windbag still alive?
Alive but still senile like his previous employer, Jimmy Carter.
25 posted on 12/27/2011 7:20:05 PM PST by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: scottteng
Chiropractic and cosmetic surgery are two others prices held down by market forces.

Thanks for that. I could not think of other examples.
26 posted on 12/27/2011 7:21:32 PM PST by microgood
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To: BookmanTheJanitor

“so...basically, he’s been hiding from the real world his entire life....”

More like...he’s spent his entire life by trying to validate his idiotic belief system by cramming it down everyone else’s throats around him...


27 posted on 12/27/2011 7:22:30 PM PST by mo
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To: Libloather
'Nuff said.
Everyone in Carter's Administration was a worthless POS.
28 posted on 12/27/2011 7:26:46 PM PST by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Libloather.
A proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden to allow those who retire in the future to chose between Medicare and private health care insurance for seniors is the latest addition to the drive to increase competition in health care.

29 posted on 12/27/2011 7:53:23 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! May 2013 be even Happier!)
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To: Libloather
we are just not equipped to absorb and process the information needed to

choose (health care, abortion services, adoption services, career, investments, education for our children, appropriate foods). Is there anything we can really be trusted to choose under fascist rule?

30 posted on 12/27/2011 7:57:35 PM PST by jimfree (In Nov 2012 my 11 y/o granddaughter will have more relevant executive experience than Barack Obama)
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To: pterional
The priest and clergy won’t be happy paying the 100,000 dollar / year malpractice premiums.

Actually, they would not need insurance. They have no assets. No lawyer would sue anyone on contingency if there is no hope of getting any money. I am not advocating leaving the health care system to priests, but on this point their vow of poverty would give them an advantage.

31 posted on 12/27/2011 8:46:43 PM PST by beef (Who Killed Kennewick Man?)
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To: Libloather
But research shows that competition in health care cannot be made to work effectively. As patients, we are just not equipped to absorb and process the information needed to make healthy choices on our own.

Uhhh, choosing insurance plans is not the same as making medical decisions. Never mind. If the author has to be told that he couldn't possibly be capable of understanding it.

32 posted on 12/27/2011 8:50:06 PM PST by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: Libloather

Of course he gets it wrong.

The reason health care competition can’t work is that health care (I mean what that English phrase denotes, not health insurance, but actual health care, the provision of curative and palliative treatment for disease and injury) is provided by government created monopolies: licensed physicians in each state function as a guild monopoly (”reasonable and customary” is price-fixing), while all medical advances are for many years sold by commercial monopolies under monopoly grants called “patents”.

The restriction of provision of medical services to licensed physicians is obviously necessary for quality control, just as the restriction of water, electric or natural gas service to one provider is necessary to prevent massive infringement of property rights to create multiple easements. In the latter case, there being no effective market competition, the several states regulate prices. In the former case, physicians are permitted to collude with insurance companies and more-or-less charge whatever the market will bear for services for which demand is quite inelastic. Likewise there is no regulation of prices when the government grants a monopoly in the form of a patent.

I would welcome suggestions for ways to actually produce market competition in health care (the problem is much easier in health insurance, but that won’t fix the cost problem), but I have never heard any convincing ones, and regard the recognition that health care is provided by a guild monopoly and that the most effective drugs and medical devices are sold by monopolies, and thus, if the monopolies cannot be broken, their prices must be regulated, as the only way to fix the problems with both Obamacare and the status quo ante to which repeal of Obamacare would return us.


33 posted on 12/27/2011 9:31:55 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: RedElement
“At the end of the day, these are very difficult decisions, and one is fooling oneself by thinking the Consumer Reports approach will solve all problems.”

I agree. However, choice and competition can come into the equation much more fundamentally. People should have a choice as to whether they want to pay up front for the right to have all the latest bells and whistles in their medical care, or to decide that they'd rather have less coverage and more money in hand for their lives ‘at the moment’. The government approach of mandating what health plans should contain is problematic, and pushes some to spend more on their health care than they want to, while pushing others to accept less coverage for cutting edge high-end treatment than they want.

People should have many options regarding just how much the want to spend to ensure access to what they consider right for them. If they'd rather have a new car than to ensure that they're covered to see any specialist they want, anywhere they want, then they should have the right to choose a cheaper plan. If someone thinks spending their money on a Rolls Royce medical plan is more important than upgrading their kitchen, or going on an expensive vacation, then they should have ample opportunity to do so.

These types of choices are made all the time, in different contexts. People decide to buy the cheaper tires, even though the braking distance with these might be a little longer. They decide to buy $10,000 of life insurance, not $1,000,000, because they just want enough to be buried. People buy computers and TVs and decide whether or not they want to pay extra for extended warranty coverage. The list goes on and on.

One does not have to be a scientist or a physician to understand the implications of spending money on high-end coverage, or basic coverage that excludes some things.

34 posted on 12/27/2011 9:40:30 PM PST by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: The_Reader_David
“physicians are permitted to collude with insurance companies and more-or-less charge whatever the market will bear for services for which demand is quite inelastic. Likewise there is no regulation of prices when the government grants a monopoly in the form of a patent.”

“and regard the recognition that health care is provided by a guild monopoly and that the most effective drugs and medical devices are sold by monopolies, and thus, if the monopolies cannot be broken, their prices must be regulated,”

Some of what you say makes sense, but I disagree on several points. First, insurance companies are more likely to be at war with physicians than to collude with them. More often than not it is the physician fighting the insurance company to ensure a particular patient gets what they need. There are most certainly unethical physicians who stretch the concept of medical ‘need’ in order to make more money, but this is by far the vast minority of physicians.

You are correct that patents on medications and devices give certain companies short-term monopolies, but that is the price that society pays for having people out there who make the efforts and take the risks for the development of new medical treatments (and who pay for the insurance that protects them from massive lawsuits if the treatment or device has unintended results). The prices on these things inevitably come down over time, not unlike new computer technology.

Physicians do not represent a guild monopoly. First of all, price collusion in medicine is illegal and highly monitored. Second, physicians compete with one another, and it is thus unlikely that even if it were legal they would agree to fixed prices. Just as important a consideration is that physician fees are not what drives the high costs of high technology medicine. Look at medicare reimbursement for physicians, and for the physician fee component of expensive procedures. The physician reimbursement represents a relatively small proportion of the whole. If physicians worked for free, and everything else stayed the same, medical costs would not go down substantially, and would soon rise again. Think about how many people are involved in a medical ICU stay, and the cost of the equipment involved (e.g. ventilators, advanced monitoring equipment, MRI or CT scanners, etc. etc.).

The way competition can work is if physicians and hospitals are allowed and encouraged to compete with each other to provide those services for less. As a person with advanced education, training, and experience, you can find innovative ways to cut costs without cutting quality. As a politician with little expertise in anything other than being a good bs’er, it's unlikely you would be able to come up with legitimate operative solutions.

35 posted on 12/27/2011 10:04:08 PM PST by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: Fee

>Medicine is not like buying gasoline.

Actually, yes it is. People certainly try to rationalize why it is not, but assume you’re in the middle of the desert, and that gasoline is the only way back to civilization, then that gasoline becomes pretty crucial as well now doesn’t it?

Food is pretty crucial. We have plenty of people supplying it, so it doesn’t much seem so hard to get. Assume it was actually scarce. In the face of starvation, medical care becomes comparatively trivial. During a famine getting food shipped out becomes more important than shipping medicine.

How about clean water? We figured that out a long time ago, and thus it is also trivial. Lack clean water though and you get cholera outbreaks, and mass death.

Then someone mentioned how choosing a surgeon was a real difficult choice, and not one to be taken lightly. True enough.

Choosing a brake mechanic is kind of important as well. Somehow I can manage to rely on the market and the courts to make that work.

Surgeons have tricky, high consequence jobs. However there is no magical thing from a command economy which changes that fact. Bureaucrats don’t have to have access to better information than the average consumer. Knowing government employees, they likely won’t care if they do have it. Their life isn’t on the line. The patient’s is. Who do you think cares more? It’s pretty closely related to who spends their money more carefully, someone spending their own money or someone spending other’s money?

People for some reason attach special importance to medicine as if it is the only field in the world which can have life or death consequences. Let’s be honest, it’s not. It’s one of many. However it is one which is constantly rationalized into being handed unto centralized control.

Here’s a really easy example. Which is more dangerous a surgeon who screws up or an airline pilot who screws up? The former kills one person when it happens. The latter can kill hundreds of people. Oddly enough nobody is screaming for nationalized air transport (yes I know air transport isn’t a necessity, but I’m looking at consequences here).


36 posted on 12/28/2011 4:47:02 AM PST by drbuzzard (different league)
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