Our president has declared the American healthcare system “broken.” Why is it the gov-ernment’s business to fix it? Government intervention in any sector of a free market kills the human spirit of initiative and innovation, which drives the industry.
Part of the reason that it is the federal government’s business to fix the healthcare sys-tem is that the government has gotten the industry into the mess it is in now. In the first place, the Medicare/Medicaid system pretends to provide access to healthcare for a segment of the population who is very much in need of care, but the restrictions placed on providing the care, which these patients need, makes the proper care for them very difficult to deliver. This is why fewer and fewer physicians are accepting new Medicare and/or Medicaid pa-tients.
A second problem is that the government has placed itself where it has no business be-ing: in the middle of the patient-physician relationship. This has destroyed the privacy of that relationship, and it has created the expectation on the part of the population that it is the government’s responsibility to pay for their healthcare once they reach a certain age. Of course this naturally creates a less healthy population, when the responsibility for payments rests with the government, instead of the individual.
Once people realize that their health is their own responsibility, then this will drive them toward more healthy living and recreate the autonomy, which Americans have longed for since colonial days. A means already exists for people to take responsibility for themselves and their families: Health savings accounts allow for money to be saved tax-free for medi-cal/dental expenses as long as there is a catastrophic insurance plan to act as a safety net for the individual or family. These health savings account should be expanded, and the gov-ernment should get out of the business of regulating them, so that a family can save to meet its own anticipated healthcare needs. The major healthcare “reform” needed is that the business of healthcare.
Michael E. Wilson, M.D., Rock Spring