NIMBY in Financials and Health Care

Last week the President met with financial leaders and proposed reform and regulation of their market. You would think after the hundreds of billions spent to keep them afloat after their meltdown that they would be receptive to anything that would decrease the risk of a recurrence. But no, in typical american fashion, they seem to bridle under the accusation that their problem was self inflicted, that it would happen again and that some type of restraint (regulation) was necessary.

In health care we see similar NIMBY traits. No one wants to give an inch. Insurers want to continue their profligate policies that guarantee profits but not access or quality. Providers fear the unknown and are the most vulnerable so they are wary of change. Patent holders (technology or pharmaceuticals) oppose change because it might infringe on their profits. Parenthetically all are afraid that their cost plus gravy train is jeopardized.

You would think with the hundreds of billions wasted yearly on health care the players would be receptive to proposals that would decrease costs and improve efficiency. But no, in typical american fashion, they seem to bridle under the accusation that their problem is self inflicted, that it will continue and/worsen in and oppose the notion that some type of reform (regulation) is essential for improvement.

In reality there is no “free market” in health care, nor, for that matter, is one possible. For example, our patent system offers long protection to new drug developers and guarantees their monopoly. Some free market, particularly when they charge thousands of dollars/month for a drug alone–which accrues over 12 months to more than the yearly average income! This is particularly aggravated by the fact that in health care there is no assured access to full information; optional approaches are not fully explained, understandable to the average person nor universally available; the buyer is under duress; and the providers charge whatever they wish without relation to true cost.

As a result we ration access (50 million uninsured) and care by cost. That’s our non-system.

It’s distressing to see what’s happening in our congress. Their timidity and responsiveness to the health care lobby quite depressing.


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