How the Government Ruined U.S. Healthcare — and What We Can Actually Do About It, by Alice Salles

You may have heard this before from SLL. When government regulates an industry at the behest of sundry do-gooders, the regulated industry has every incentive to capture the regulatory apparatus. For the do-gooders, they are off to their next crusade. From Alice Salles at theantimedia.org:

Government’s meddling in the healthcare business has been disastrous from the get-go.

Since 1910, when Republican William Taft gave in to the American Medical Association’s lobbying efforts, most administrations have passed new healthcare regulations. With each new law or set of new regulations, restrictions on the healthcare market went further, until at some point in the 1980s, people began to notice the cost of healthcare had skyrocketed.

This is not an accident. It’s by design.

As regulators allowed special interests to help design policy, everything from medical education to drugs became dominated by virtual monopolies that wouldn’t have otherwise existed if not for government’s notion that intervening in people’s lives is part of their job.

But how did costs go up, and why didn’t this happen overnight?

It wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon restricted the supply of hospitals by requiring institutions to provide a certificate-of-need.

Just a couple years later, in 1974, the president also strengthened unions for hospital workers by boosting pension protections, which raise the cost for both those who run hospitals and taxpayers in cases of institutions that rely on government subsidies. This move also helped force doctors who once owned and ran their own hospitals to merge into provider monopolies. These, in turn, are often only able to keep their doors open with the help of government subsidies.

This artificial restriction on healthcare access had yet another harsh consequence: overworked doctors.

But they weren’t the first to feel the consequences hit home. As the number of hospitals and clinics became further restricted and the healthcare industry became obsessed with simple compliance, patients were the first to feel abandoned.

To continue reading: How the Government Ruined U.S. Healthcare — and What We Can Actually Do About It

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One response to “How the Government Ruined U.S. Healthcare — and What We Can Actually Do About It, by Alice Salles

  1. Clearly something has gone wrong.

    In 1964 my younger brother got sick. The doctor came to the house, examined him and diagnosed tonsillitis. He gave him a shot. It had to take fifteen minutes.

    My mother gave him ten dollars. Minimum wage at that time was a dollar and a quarter per hour. Three dollars per hour was considered a good wage. He was the same doctor we went to for other things. He had a nurse.

    If I go to a doctor now, he shares an office staff with one or two other doctors. He shares one or two nurses. He actually sees me for fewer than ten minutes. It costs two hundred to three hundred dollars. Minimum wage here is about ten dollars per hour.

    Like

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