Thursday, February 4, 2010

A good question re: Paul Ryan's free market fundamentalism

From Democurmudgeon:

Ryan gets kudos for being brutally honest? Radical and unpalatable is good? Here's hoping all of this is in short supply in the nations capital. But there's more, where Ryan reduces health care to a mere product . From Ezra Klein's interview:

Klein: The Lasik thing is interesting because it gets to the question of whether health care is a market. When I think of getting Lasik, or buying a television, I can walk out of the store. That’s what gives me as a consumer my power in the market. But if I have chest pains and my doctor prescribes a bypass, how do I walk out of the store?

Ryan: In Milwaukee, the price of bypass ranges from $47,000 to $100,000. Nobody knows where to go for quality, or the prices. So wouldn’t it be good for the prices and quality metrics to be publicized? And let people make a decision. There’ll always be some level of co-pay or deductible or co-insurance that’s going to push people towards the best value.

Then, when you have those chest pains and you’re being rushed in the ambulance, you’ll be rushed to a hospital that’s all along been competing for business and has been improved by that process. You’ll get better health care than you otherwise would. That’s how you improve the system.

Just a thought: If a hospital has to reduce prices to compete, will that reduce the amount of care and quality of treatment? It brings to mind this one free market principle, an old latin warning; "Buyer Beware." That's Ryan's health care gamble for Americans.

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