Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American

By John McCain, September 2008

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

The article itself:

Yeah I heard about this a few days ago and somehow it didn’t end up here. Pretty amazing.

For every American… except the ones that could cost the companies money, of course.

I suspect those would be considered the ‘worst excesses’.

What a bunch of bullshit. Less regulation, the panacea of morons everywhere.

I don’t get it. If the government has been opening up competition among insurance companies for the last decade, and doing so lowers insurance costs, then why have insurance costs continued to rise?


I seriously can’t believe that there are still people who think that the free market is a good idea for health care. I had that discussion before and I never lost it because it can’t be lost unless the opponent is either insane or willing to write off whole scores of people.

Yes, just look at all the great things opening up banking has done for us in the last decade! Why, we’ve got 33% credit card rates forced onto anyone who pays a day late, we’ve got banks willing to loan money to anyone based on information they don’t bother to verify, and oh yeah, we’ve got that amazing real estate bust going on right now that’s led to a near Depression and a $700 billion government bailout.

It’ll work out way better with healthcare though, right?

Medical costs overall have exceeded real GDP. Services available to patients have increased. So costs increase.

People want to consume more and more health care, especially as we age as a society. Somehow the costs must balance the demand, no matter what system of health care is implemented.

McCain’s plan is dumb, but it reminded me – has Obama mentioned anything about Medicare reform? I feel like the tax bills for that program in a decade or two are going to make market rates for full-coverage health insurance look cheap. Hope it’s on his radar.

It’s a race to bankruptcy!

How do you lower health care costs without drastically lowering salaries for the providers and drastically lowering the cost of the drugs? Are we ready to pay doctors the same salaries as teachers?

As for insurance company premiums? Gotta show a profit for the shareholders and profits need to rise from year to year.

That does not in any fashion address how so many other nations are able to provide better or equivalent services with lower costs.

This is easy to answer from Econ 101, but I have no idea how to answer it in a top-down system like Medicare. Glad it’s not my job.

I believe the basic reason is that the other countries don’t support profits for insurance companies, drug companies, private hospitals, and malpractice lawyers to the same extent that we do here. It’s not that physicians and nurses are making bank and need paycuts - they’ve basically been making the same amount of money (adjusted for inflation etc) since the 70s. It’s all of the other entities that are adding their piece to the pie where they previously didn’t have much of a piece at all.

What are the major costs for healthcare in the US? I’m skeptical that salaries are the big cost, but I would believe drugs. Anyone?

Obviously, they’d have risen even more if they hadn’t been defending us from the vile specter of universal health care.

Apparently the administration costs is a major chunk of the US healthcare. According to this article:

The estimated per capita cost of health care administration was US$1059 in the U.S. and US$307 in Canada. These costs accounted for 31% and 17% of health care spending in the U.S. and Canada, respectively. The average overhead cost for U.S. private insurers was 11.7%; in contrast, this figure was 3.6% for U.S. Medicare and 1.3% for Canadian provincial insurance plans.

Am I reading that right? Private insurer admin costs are roughly triple the government’s cost in Medicare? And yet the Right keeps pushing for privatization.

On second thought, that shouldn’t surprise me at all, since the fat cats are the ones who own those administrative businesses that rake in that 8% difference, I’m sure.

I’ve also read (no link, sorry) that other countries don’t go “overboard” on treatments. Had a heart-attack? Here’s some pills (vs. US where you’ll have the pills+angioplasty+whatverelse); where studies show that pills alone usually are sufficient except in more extreme cases. Costs are naturally lower.