America Should Model Its Health Care Market After Pet Care

If we had a free market in health care, you could expect to see prices for full blown cancer treatment, including radiation and chemo, for less than $10,000. How do I know this? Because that's what it costs to treat your dog.

Veterinary care, while still heavily regulated by the commissars of the state, is still essentially a free market service. The state doesn't subsidize it, which means people have to pay out of pocket to treat their animals. Animal health insurance, which is not heavily regulated or subsidized, is cheaper than your cell phone bill. For example, pet health insurance costs about $100 a month or less for total coverage with a $100 annual deductible and a 10% co-pay. Those prices are unheard of for human coverage!  There is absolutely no reason why human medical care should cost what it does when a dog can get better care for the a tenth of the cost! Anyone know what the cost of human cancer treatment is running these days? $70,000 per case, as of 2010.  

Consider that your dog is able to get instant treatment, no wait times, full access to experimental drugs, and all the pampering he deserves for the price of a nice two week vacation to the Bahamas.  Meanwhile, you are paying through your nose for basic coverage! Does that sound right to you? Do you think that more regulations and subsidies will bring down health care costs?

The state is spending nearly a trillion dollars a year on health care subsidies, and that's just the federal programs. Has all this spending served to bring down costs, increase efficiency, improve service and help people live better lives? Of course not Which naturally means we must exponentially increase spending to the billionth power to save ourselves. Only Ben Bernanke can save us from ourselves!

Even if there were no programs to help the poor, isn't it reasonable to think that the poorest among us would be capable of coming up with $10,000 to treat a dying family member? Don't you think that charities would help cover the cost for those of us who are simply too poor to make the payment?  

The poor in America today are driving around in cars and watching big screen TVs. I feel confident that even a McDonald's employee making minimum wage could afford health insurance if he was able to buy it tax free on the open market for $100 a month. And if he couldn't, someone would be there to help him out. Unlike our present system that hands out money to anyone and their brother, private charities would ensure that only those most in need would get donor's cash.

Our present health care system isn't an overpriced disaster because insurance companies are greedy. It is an overpriced disaster because the state is using violence to control the market and subsidize the medical industry. It is interesting to note that PolicyMic lists the "Health Care" category under the "Politics" topic listing. Would it strike you as odd if you saw technology listed under politics on a news site? Everyone knows that the health care industry in America isn't a free market, even if they don't consciously admit it to themselves.

Listen to Dr. Jane M. Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), speak at the 2009 Darden Health Care Conference. Orient lays down the reasons for our present unhinged medical costs, along with presenting some solutions that would solve our problems. 


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Michael Suede

Michael Suede is an Austrian economist and author who holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin. Michael's articles have appeared in numerous economics publications. Michael is also one of the few economists who is well versed in the economics of voluntary crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin. Michael is a veteran of the US Navy and an advocate of voluntarism. Michael authorizes the use of all his content under Public Domain copyright. Any organization or individual may freely republish, edit, modify and distribute Michael's works without restrictions.

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