The Cost of ‘Health’

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Writes Steve Black:

I was just reflecting on a funny comparison. My wife and I had a child 3 years ago, and I remember the bill from the hospital being in the ball-park of $4,500 (Waterbury, CT). Of course I didn’t really care because my wife had state-subsidized (she was a teacher in a public school) benefits that only made us pay a $150 co-pay.

Then, last year, my wife, 2-year-old son and I took a family vacation to Disney World in Florida. 8  days/7 nights in the middle-budget Caribbean, on-site resort (which of course had room service each day as well as amazing amenities), park-hopper tickets for all four, main parks each day, and a family dining plan for each day (which provides for more delicious food than one could ever attempt to eat in a day). I also received a $70 gift card for my birthday. The trip’s total cost, after tax and gratuity for dining: $2,500.

Now, I realize it is apples and oranges to compare the “Happiest Place on Earth” with a hospital, but when it comes down to basic economic principles, is it really that different?

In the hospital, we were there for three days, two nights, a crappy meal was provided only for my wife each of those days, and the actual MD was only present for a total of 1/2 hour. Our experience was of course absolutely fine, and the RNs were fantastic people. But would a free market health care system render a maternity bill in excess of $4,500? And that’s a birth with no complications!

No, I’m convinced that the real problem in Health Care for America is not “insurance” (even though it is not really insurance), it is cost. And to pinpoint the problem as cost, one then needs to determine the cause of costs being so high, and anyone who could possibly think that it’s not the government’s fault along with it’s bed-buddy the AMA is in utter denial.

I say down with government subsidies, down with the AMA, down with licensing laws, down with patent laws (which impede innovation not only due to advancement in technology, but also due to this bizarre notion that diseases can be “owned” by he who decodes the genome the fastest!), down with protectionist policies, down with the notion of pre-payment of services as insurance, and UP with freedom—freedom of choice, freedom of entry, freedom to build hospitals wherever and whenever they’re in demand, freedom to build as many medical schools as entrepreneurs are willing to build, freedom to have as many budding doctors enter the field each year as possible, and freedom to purchase an insurance plan that is truly insurance.

My guess is that in time quicker than I can even guess, the cost of a non-complicated vaginal birth may drop down to a manageable and more realistic $500-$600. And with nine-months to save up, that’s not so bad at all.

10:42 am on July 24, 2010