Sunday, 19 August 2007

American Medical Costs, and Who's Really at Fault

Three days ago, a man hurled his ill wife from his balcony, it has been said, because he couldn't afford to pay her high medical bills. Unsurprisingly, the left has been ranting on about it being a failure of America's free-market medical system. But not's what at fault here is not the American free-market system, but instead government meddling not just in America but also in other parts of the world.

It is without a doubt that America has very high prices attached to healthcare. Obviously, new drugs and medicines are expensive business, so drug companies have to go international to survive. However, in Europe the government artificially lowers prices of medicine so it (supposedly) can be provided cheap to all people. Because of this, in order to make a profit and keep investments in new drugs steady, drug companies have to raise prices on the American consumer. It is Europe's fault, not the the free-market system of America, that medicine is such a burden to people. If America were to implement the same price controls of Europe, there wouldn't be many drugs to keep people alive much longer.

American healthcare isn't exactly socialized, but it isn't exactly free-market either. Instead, it is a third-party system, where insurance is taken out to cover medical costs. Management and bureaucracy is a major part of American hospitals, as well as excessive regulation by the American government. For instance, everyone in the emergency room has to be treated, whether it is a sore thumb or fractured lung that they've got.

Americans are infamous as notorious suers (I once heard a story about someone suing McDonald's about their happy meals not being happy). Many American doctors are terrified of being sued with almost anything these days. Therefore, American GPs and hospitals have to take very high precautions against things going wrong, and this inevitably raises prices through the roof.

The solution is as basic as always, and that is to let medical providers compete on a truly free market, where you don't have excessive pricing for healthcare nor a die-while-you-wait universal healthcare system. Slash bureaucracy and let families and doctors take charge of medical care, because, quite frankly, universal healthcare is a failure everywhere. It only seems to be working in Europe because the prices are the problems of Americans, like the sorry women who got thrown from her balcony. And for peak's sake, do not sue for anything and everything under the sun.

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