On The One Hand, I Agree With Warren Buffet

ON THE OTHER HAND, I think he’s full of it. He begins with a fallacy when he says, “We have a health system that, in terms of costs, is really out of control.” I’m sorry, “WE” don’t have shit. “WE” needn’t and probably shouldn’t (though I’m chary of using the word should) have anything — in common. Each of us is unique, has our own needs, wants, desires, diseases, and foibles. Nor should it be any different.That’s the way God planned it, to quote that old song. (Yes, boomers, it is an old song. Get over it.) Why any one-size-fits-all solution (if solution it is) should be put forward in the first place ought to make you suspect any such and anyone who WOULD put it forward. If you get my drift.

And that leads to the flaw in this thinking:

“Attack the costs first, and then worry about expanding coverage,” he said. “I would much rather see another plan that really attacks costs. And I think that’s what the American public wants to see. I mean, the American public is not behind this bill.”

Why anyone so well enriched by the market should be so ignorant of how markets work is beyond amazing and falls into the flabbergastion zone. It is, in matter of fact, the very attacks on the pricing and distribution of medical goods and services that has so badly distorted the market, so horribly perverted incentives in the market, as to put all but the most basic care beyond the reach of ordinary Americans. (Or so they think.) And the NUMBER ONE cause is the use of — so-miscalled (scorn quotes) — “insurance”.

Are you aware that a little less than half of what you spend or is spent on your behalf on medical goods and services goes, not to pay for those services, but to pay for insurance, including (but not limited to) the overhead (call it an unfunded mandate) required to DEAL WITH insurance? (Pardon me: “insurance.” (It’s not.))

If you really want to lower the costs of medicine and medical care, here’s the prescription.

1. Eliminate tax deductions for “employer-paid” “insurance” coverage. (And, as you do, admit that it is neither employer-paid NOR insurance. Make it WELL known that, if the value of the labor were not there, the “insurance” would not be available, and that if it is, the employee is better off getting the price of the insurance in his pay packet.)

2. End Medicare and Medicaid. (Pay subsidies to those who really need it. Pay them from the general fund, as an on-budget item. Get rid of the slush funds that politicians use to buy votes, but which otherwise only warp the marketplace out of all reason.)

3. Allow “Major Medical” carriers to sell across state lines. (Yes, it’s a blow to states rights. Boo hoo. They shouldn’t be allowed to meddle in the buying options of the people regardless. Think of it as a counter-blow FOR the rights of the People.)

4. Remove tax disincentives for savings, including medical savings accounts. (Don’t try to incentivize or subsidize them; just get the Hell out of the way and let the People solve what government has broken. Trust me; they will.)

5. Run a clock on the FDA. Enough with the endless delays and blockage of new drugs and devices. (Better yet: privatize the whole thing. Follow the UL model. Give the regulators incentives to ALLOW, rather than block, new drugs and devices.)

6. Having limited the time it takes to GET a patent on a drug, push for quicker generics. (Lantus insulin is out of patent. Why is there no generic long-acting insulin glargine? (Hint: it’s a three-letter agency of the government.))

7. Two words: tort reform. (‘Nuff said.)

There might be more. Probably is. But this would be a good start. Problem is there are too few opportunities for fraud, graft, corruption, and vote-buying in it. But youthepeople would be well-advised to, if you DON’T get this or something very much like it, to vote ALL the bastards out of office. At least.

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