Magazine article USA TODAY

Free Market Could Repair Health Care

Magazine article USA TODAY

Free Market Could Repair Health Care

Article excerpt

"Democrats excel at 'message discipline'--sticking to talking points whether their script is factually correct or not. Repeated often enough, the script becomes 'truth.' The Democrats' script says: The U.S. health care system is broken. Free markets did not work; we cannot go back to what was, even if ObamaCare has problems,'" maintains physician Elizabeth Lee Vliet, who has private practices in Tucson, Ariz., and Dallas, Texas.

This script is on a par with campaign lies, such as "If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it," that sold the need for government to "fix" one-sixth of the economy, even when polls showed 85% of people were satisfied with their health insurance and medical care, charges Vliet.

Now, millions of Americans have lost their private insurance because it did not comply with costly, unwanted ObamaCare mandates. Millions also have lost their doctors and hospitals with networks "shrunk" to cut insurers' costs.

Adds Vliet, the author of several books, including Women, Weight and Hormones. 'The entire U.S. health care system is not 'broken'--not yet. The payment system was 'broken' by government intrusion and regulation. U.S. medical care has remained tops in the world for quality, accessibility, innovation, variety of medications, available diagnostic and treatment procedures, and longevity for the major diseases and for cancer survival."

Vliet points out that "free markets" in U.S. medical care and sale of health insurance have not been allowed to operate since the 1940s when the World War II federally mandated freeze on wages and scarce labor led to creative employers offering health insurance as a "benefit" to attract needed employees. More people got health insurance through jobs, and did not experience the true cost of medical services as they do in a free market.

Vliet further explains that "free markets" in medical services were eroded further by passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 that put the Federal government in charge of setting prices ("allowable charges"), deciding payments to physicians and hospitals, and determining "covered" services.

Later, she continues, state governments piled on regulations, mandating benefits that people did not freely choose to buy, limiting insurance carriers operating in the state, and blocking competition through "certificate of need" requirements for new facilities. …

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