‘Ground Control to John Goodman’ – A Uwe Reinhardt Appeal
John Goodman of the conservative Dallas based think tank National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) issued a “William Wallace-esque’ FREEDOM pitch today on his blog entitled Reforming Health Care the Right Way.
This is a man who previously claimed that there are ‘no uninsured’ (from a health insurance point of view) in America; after all Goodman posits that everyone has access to the ER, so what are you complaining about? (paraphrased).
In his blog post today one day after the historic Senate vote to advance the health care bill, Goodman opines on the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to reform US healthcare.
What I find most insightful is his post is the rebuttal comment proferred by Uwe Reinhardt as to the fantasy world this man, and unfortunately many other ideological predisposed converts, apparently inhabit. The health care industry defies over simplification, yet ‘sound byte’ disingenuous over-simplification is the prima facie basis on which the ‘anti-reform crowd has stimulated emotive mis-understanding of the nature of the malady as well as it’s appropriate and quite comprehensive remedies.
Enjoy! And your comments are both encouraged and welcome whether pro or con…
Uwe Reinhardt Says:
December 21st, 2009 at 1:12 pm
I hear Richard Branson of Virgin Air is seriously exploring space travel as a commercially feasible project.
Once he has that done, I shall be able to book a flight to the distant planet on which John Goodman lives.
It is the planet on which all physicians always are purely the agent of their patients and do not have any economic conficts of interest — such as making money on tests they prescribe to anxious patients or from referring patients to imaging centers in which they have a state or to collegues with whom they play gold, and so on. Such conflicts of interest do not crop up on John’s planet, not because government forbinds them (there is no government on that planet), but because such conflicts of interest just don’t exist there somehow. Remember: it’s another planet!
On John’s planet it is also easy to have price competition among physicians, because all ill health on that planet can be cured with just one standard, well defined “unit of health care.” What that is I do not know, but John does, because he lives there. He’s probable consumed some, rationally, I wouold assume.
Contrast that with an earthbound hospital charge master with 20,000 itsems in it or the physician fee schedule with 7,000 items in it. How would one make diffenetials in the elements of those huge vectors understandable to patients?
John took on a new religion on that planet to where he actually immigrated — he once lived on earth. On earth he always boldly talked for decades about “Consumer Directed Health Care,” but neither he nor his entire think tanks (the NCPA) every did a stitch of work to help develop the user-friendly price information that patients as “consumers” would need to make rational choices in health care ex ante.
Once on the new planet, John realized that he sinned on earth and swore to do better there. Of course, on his new planet it’s easy: there is only one type of health care and one price. The redemption was a piece of cake.
All people on John’s planet have the same income — in fact, they all have John’s high income and all also have Ph.D.’s. or M.D.s So the problem with poor people not being able to afford high deductibles and therefore stiffing doctors and hospitals for it does not exist on John’s planet. Nor is there a problem with health illiteracry, because everyone on John’s planet has a Ph.D. or M.D. Every patient on John’s planet knows exactly what he or she needs before going to a doctor and simple shops around for a low price.
For the most part, an individual’s need for health care in a coming year on John’s planet is certain and predictable and thus not really insurable. Only the need for about 20% of all health care is stochastic and hence insurable.
On John’s planet, 50% of any large group of people account for 50% of all health spending — 80% of the people account for 80% of all health spending. Here on earth, 20% of the sickest account for 80% of all health spending, and much of that 80% will also be insured. It will be managed by some insurance clerk coming between doctor and patient.
Oh how I long to go to the planet where John Goodman lives, where life is so easy and so simple. I am so tired of the mess here on our planet. Aren’t we all?
Small wonder that John just up and left Mother Earth for a planet where all his theories actually work.
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