Fix health care? Eliminate the middleman!

Here’s an idea that I’ve been bouncing around in my head:

It’s a variation on the theme of “medical spending accounts.”

The idea is that people can put as much money as they want into the account, and all of that money (less some small amount for administration) is available to them for health care. Anything over can be used for other people’s health care–and the “donor” gets a tax deduction or some other economic incentive for donating.

The clearinghouse organization doesn’t make decisions regarding health care–the doctor and the patient do.

Doctors, as part of the moral obligation of “informed consent,” will have to reveal to their patients the cost of the procedures the doctor is ordering. The clearinghouse organization can help with that, keeping track of what’s being charged for those services over time.

As I mentioned before, if a person doesn’t have enough in his or her account to afford the service, then there are choices to be made. First, the doctor (or other health care provider) can lower their price. The patient can decide that the service is too expensive. OR, the other people who have put money into the program can decide to help the patient out, financially.

This used to be called “charity” and was generally considered to be a Good Thing For People To Do.

The thing is, that this charity would be voluntary. Nobody would force you to do a good thing. But since it’s human nature to need the occasional prod towards doing that right thing, there needs to be some kind of additional economic incentive for people to do this.

What I would do is take every dollar volunteered for charity straight off the top–make it a 1-for-1 deduction on taxes owed. So, basically, people could choose to fund the government, or to fund other people’s health care expenses.

This seems to me to be much more straightforward and honest than anything being talked about in Washington right now.

Simple. Doctor. Patient. Bare-bones clearinghouse to track prices, and to match needy patients with people who have the money to help them.

No guns, no coercion.

Voluntary. (Except for passing the laws that would make this system legal, of course.)

How Government Gets Bigger

The condensed version:

1. Target a relatively free industry;

2. Enact onerous regulations to “fix” trumped-up “problems” in the industry;

3. Criticize the industry constantly as it struggles unsuccessfully to deal with the onerous regulations;

4. Cluck knowingly about the “market failure” that explains the difficulties of the industry, and pass even more draconian regulations.

5. Repeat process until total economic collapse.

That’s the game plan. Over and over again. Unfortunately, it works.

They’re here. No, I mean HERE here . . .

UFO’s over Kansas City[*1] ?

In March a UFO was spotted by several college professors in St. Joseph, Missouri, who viewed the object through a telescope. Two of the witnesses made drawings of the object, which were large orange fireballs in a tear-drop shape. The UFO moved away and disappeared. In late May a large oval object was spotted traveling from South to North from the UMKC campus in Kansas City, and in June a large cigar-shaped silver UFO was witnessed in Sedalia by 20 people standing in an Applebee’s parking lot. On June 17 a large bright craft was viewed for over an hour, then multiple planes and helicopters searched the area in Lenexa.

I haven’t seen any. But I haven’t been looking, either. The Truth Is Out There. (Cue X-Files music . . .)

Always nice to find . . .

someone who agrees with me about a movie–in this case, Crash[*1] :

My opinion: I hate this movie. Crash was an unrealistic, melodramatic depiction of racism in this country. Of course racism exists, but it’s not as black and white cut and dry as Crash would have you believe. The film suffers from finding itself quite clever, linking together its characters (a technique that was executed properly and brilliantly in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia) in an unbelievable, far-fetched manner. Plus, presenting the scenes in slow motion coupled with an overly dramatic score doesn’t make the movie good. It makes it pretentious, and the social message about racism is delivered with the subtlety of a jackhammer.

Man, I hated that movie. Not quite as much as “Million Dollar Baby” which I don’t just hate, I loathe, but “Crash” sucked. Hard.

Ominous words from Iran

Via Michael Totten writing at Commentary cites a Huffington Post entry, citing an e-mail from an Iranian (is that trail tenuous or what?):

Nico Pitney published an email at the Huffington Post that indicates at least some of the demonstrators are willing to take casualties.

I spoke with my father last night who is [in Iran]… [He] told me the common sentiment among the protestors is that of incredible resolve. He said that from what he’s heard, this will not stop until the Ayatollah himself is overthrown. As he put it, “Even if a million people (Moussavi supporters) die, they will not back down”.

Brave words. Ominous words. God help and protect the freedom-loving Iranians.

These are probably mistakes . . .

I have joined Facebook. Here[*1] .

I have also become a Twit. Here[*2] .

Goody. Two MORE web sites for me to very infrequently post to, monitor, or otherwise waste my time with. Yee. Hah.

And no, I don’t know what, if anything, I will do with those sites. I barely know what to do with THIS one most days.

“First, do no harm”

I keep thinking of this simple concept when everybody comes down from On High (i.e. Washington, D.C.) telling us all how the health care system is f**ked up, and needs to be fixed RIGHT THE HELL NOW!!!!!

Maybe so. Don’t make it worse, Washington.

And, given the housing industry, the car industry, etc., etc., in fact every single government intervention into our economy all the way back to the New Deal and beyond, the politican’s track record for “fixing problems” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

In short, my default position is that anything you try to do will make things worse than they are now. But you’re welcome to convince me otherwise.

Postscript: I saw This over at National Review Online[*1] which appears to be on point:

As the great Arthur Seldon said, “Risks which cannot be removed or shifted profitably must be born by the entrepreneur. He will generally do so only as long as his expectation of profit outweighs the chance of loss.” Systemic risk can therefore exist only when there is systemic removal of that chance of loss. Government (or organized thievery = same thing, essentially) is the only thing that can do that. Systemic risk cannot therefore exist without a government distorting the market.

So, what kind of additional “systemic risk” will be introduced by a much larger intervention of the government into the health care system? Or do you even care that the likely result will be, as in England, waiting periods measured in months for even routine surgeries?

First, do no harm.