When it comes to the America’s healthcare system… the free market sucks.
- Health care is a very complex marketplace.
- An unfortunate result of that complexity is an economic condition called information asymmetry in which consumers do not have the information required to determine which product/treatment is best.
- Because of this imbalance in information, it is ONLY at a systemic level that WE can figure out which healthcare decisions work best and which are not worth the money.
And while that may sound a little Big-Brotherish…it’s true.
Heck…even Novartis chairman Daniel Vasella thinks so:
In America, no one has incentives to make quality and cost-effective outcomes the goal. There are so many stakeholders and they each want to protect themselves. Someone needs to ask, ‘What are the critical elements to increase quality?’ That’s what we’re going to pay for, nothing else.
It pains me to say this as a free-market advocate, but you have to have [the] government act in this case. Health care is very complex. Only at a systemic level can you figure out what works best based on the evidence, and what procedures and treatments are not worth the money
And unfortunately for my American cousins, their free market system of healthcare focuses on selling products & services…not producing the best healthcare outcomes for the American population.
- Smoking rates are higher in France than in the United States, so the French population has higher rates of lung disease. Yet the French system is able to treat the disease far more effectively than happens in the United States, with levels of severity and fatality three times lower than those in this country. And yet France spends eight times less on treatments per person than the U.S. system.
- Or consider Britain, which handles diabetes far more effectively than the United States, while spending less than half of what we spend per person. Studies have shown that the British system is five times more productive in managing diabetes than is the United States.
Successful healthcare occurs when the focus is on results and not on sales figures.
And until that shift in philosophy happens, Americans…and Canadians..and French..and British…and Brazilians… and every other person in the world will be receiving sub-standard healthcare.
[box type=”note”]As a Canadian, I can report that my non-Free Market healthcare system also fails badly when it comes to looking at the big picture. Instead of focusing on results, Canada’s system focuses on treatments and wait times and availability. We spend less than 1% of the healthcare budget on disease prevention even though the costs associated with poor lifestyle choices are going through the roof.[/box]