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It is now received wisdom that the crux of the problem with US Health Care is the insurance industry, whether you’re on the left and believe it must be fixed with a public option insurance plan or on the right and believe it must be fixed by reducing the regulatory burden on the insurance industry.

I’m going to come out here and state the obvious: The insurance industry doesn’t set the prices for that treatment – they just pay the bills afterwards. Think about it. What is insurance? If you get sick and have to pay for medical treatment then the insurance company just pays for that treatment (or doesn’t, depending on what plan you have and how evil your insurer is). They are not responsible for the sky-rocketing cost of health care nowadays, just for the shitty treatment you get when you try to claim your insurance.

Don’t get me wrong, insurance companies are indeed evil. But they are just one part of a much wider multi-faceted problem, which is why I’m so frustrated with the US health care debate. It’s focussing on just one issue – universal health care and the public option to the almost total exclusion of all other things. Even if you had a perfectly functional set of insurers, you still have massive problems with your health care system.

What about the pharmaceutical industry which massively jacked up the cost of drugs? Why aren’t they being targetted in this health care splurge? What about the trial lawyer’s associations whose continual vexatious lawsuits have frightened doctors into giving people MRIs for the common cold?

I have two responses when I see a political story. One is laughter. The other is curiosity. I’m a puzzle-solver, I like to solve difficult puzzles. So far, my reaction to the US health care debate has been just laughter at the ridiculous reaction of the Right in calling Obama a Nazi. That was a failure, I should have been exercising my brain to think of solutions and encourage my friends to do the same. Recently, I’ve been thinking about it a fair bit and have reached a few conclusions. Right now I’m trying to put them into a form which won’t bore the fuck out of my remaining readers. Hopefully I’ll have time to actually write down some of these conclusions (I also have plans in the pipeline for long posts about IR reform, libertarianism, Indian reservations and sovereignty, plus two half-written posts about internet censorship and unionism)>

Health care is a very complex topic. It’s a travesty more people don’t realise it.


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