There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow where all of our health-care spending has magically accrued. Health care “costs” are really health care jobs. In surveys, hospital managers name labor as their largest cost issue — not the Affordable Care Act.
Achieving any substantial reduction in the cost of care will require what economists call “labor-saving technology.” We will have to find ways to destroy health care jobs — or at least to slow their growth. That will require technology. It will also require policy changes that reduce demand for labor-intensive care.
Free enterprise is the way America works. We need to apply that to healthcare.
Mitt Romney, apparently forgetting that the United States is essentially one gigantic insurance company with a profoundly expensive standing military, not exactly a projection of free enterprise.
Most people want the government to subsidize healthcare. If Romney is honest-to-god interested in eliminating the government spending that distorts the free enterprise for healthcare, he should explain to voters what, exactly, that would mean. (A teaser: no more Medicare.) Obviously, don’t hold your breath for that kind of honesty.
The system doesn’t work, it’s broke today. The end of insurance companies, the way we’ve run the business in the past, is here.