Healthcare Economics: What will happen if Healthcare becomes “Free”?
As a healthcare professional I am very concerned with Healthcare economics, but as a consumer I find that there are huge problems regarding the affordability of healthcare. We all have likely suffered the anxiety of opening a bill from a healthcare provider. This anxiety comes from not knowing how all of the factors will play out. Some of the common unknowns people might have could be phrased as follows:
1. Will insurance cover the procedure in question, and if so at what percentage?
2. What if any of my deductible have I met?
3. How much can a five minute procedure really cost?
Too often it seems we are surprised by the answers to these questions. It seems now days that you need a law degree and an English degree to understand the terms of our insurance, and if you are uninsured you need to be independently wealthy to afford healthcare. (Some may also argue that you need to be independently wealthy to afford insurance). The simple truth is that most people do not fully understand what the end price of their health care will be and when they get the price it is much greater than they expected. This is where much of anxiety surrounding healthcare comes from, and this anxiety has caused a great number of the population to cry out for healthcare reform, and many of them even ask “What would happen if Healthcare were free?”
I believe that simple economics can answer that question. The quantity of healthcare services demanded at a price of zero would certainly overwhelm the quantity supplied by suppliers at the price of zero. Although consumers would be thrilled to have someone else pick up the tab this would increase their economic cost because they would have lines larger than anything ever seen at Disneyland. Many people would find that they pay the price of free healthcare with their life because it is simply not in supply at that price.
Another problem would be the fact that for-profit healthcare providers would not supply services for nothing (which is what the Government currently pays), and this would leave us with federally funded healthcare providers. We have seen how well this form of healthcare works through Veteran Healthcare services.
It is plain to me that free healthcare is a myth and clearly not an option. But the question for discussion I have is what can be done if anything to fix healthcare in the United States? For your reference I have included a link to an article that describes many of the options available to lawmakers. Please look them over and let me know your thoughts.
As for current healthcare reform, following the last presidential election I was very surprised to see people posting on Facebook and other social media sites that they were “moving to Canada”. I was surprised because Canada already has much of what our current leadership is moving towards which includes somewhat free healthcare with low supply and great demand. People wait months just for a simple CT scan. Please post what your thoughts are current healthcare reform. Do you think it will help or not?
It seems to me that current healthcare reform is looking to make Employers and Healthcare providers foot the bill for healthcare, which I believe will ultimately lead to higher unemployment and less for profit healthcare. Again because of the law of supply and demand employers will hire less people due to increased costs, and for profit hospitals will close doors because they cannot compete while being paid what the government offers.