Today’s Yahoo Opinion page introduces two articles arguing about the degree of government involvement in private industry–New Bill Ends Government-Run Companies and The private health industry’s time is up. The first decries the US government’s control of over 500 companies and makes some good points about the inability of public companies to run efficiently and competitively.
The second article argues that the profit motive has left US medical services far behind much of the developed world, largely because health insurance is too expensive for much of the population. Included are some statistics, bizarre for the richest country on the planet–
- 18,000 people die each year of preventable illness
- The the U. S. ranks 37th in terms of health system performance
- The U.S. is far behind many countries in rates of , life expectancy, and preventable deaths
But is the solution to socialize the system? It may be, but I wonder if the profit motive has pushed the medical industry into a noncompetitive system that might be restored to a working, efficient market. I remember one of Lewis Thomas’ essays where he recalled a very different medical industry of the early 20th century. It was affordable and competitive, and a doctor’s care was available because of need, not ability to pay.
Sure the technology is much better now, but I suspect the real culprits are the insurance companies and the AMA, effectively managing to set monopoly prices for medical care.