There is currently, and often, much debate over the state of health care. No doubt we have a less-than-satisfactory system in our country.
by Nick Coons
But what really is the problem? Are Americans concerned that the quality of health care is sub-par? Do we have problems with treating diseases compared to other countries? Should we be doing better?
Or is the problem more related to cost? Is it that there are so many people that can't afford health care. That we're spending a proportionately large amount of their income on paying insurance premiums? Are we not getting our money's worth?
I know of few instances where people have complaints about the quality of the care they receive, that their conditions would have been treated better had they been in another country. There are anecdotal stories to support any position, but I'm not aware that this is a common problem. From what I can tell, it boils down to cost. People think health care should cost less than it does, and for good reason.
My mother recalls taking me to the doctor in the 80s. She paid out-of-pocket for doctor's visits, and the cost of the entire visit was less than what her co-pay is today for the same visit. How did the cost of health care increase so much so quickly? Her experience is not unique. In fact, costs have increased 10-fold over the past 30-years (1).
It's not just out-of-pocket expenses that have increased. Health insurance costs continue to rise as well. Rising costs lead to lower accessibility (fewer people can afford something at $1,000 than they can at $100), and are blamed on a whole slew of culprits: greed, frivolous lawsuits, excessive licensing, insurance fraud, regulatory mandates, third-party payers, the FDA; even our non-existent free market has been blamed.
It is my intention to illustrate the individual problems that have caused the damage to accessible health care, and to show how government action is at the root of each of these causes.
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