Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Hope He's Better at Medicine: Cause his economics suck. Chatting with a doctor the other day, he gave me an earful of his complaints about the profession, in the end declaring that single-payer is the only way to go. "Capitalism," he said, referring to insurance companies, who were getting the brunt of his wrath, "is the problem."

I gave my usual smile and nod. No discussing politics in this town. Being to the right of Lula makes you a fascist. Still, I wonder if he thinks that it was, you know, socialism that gave the United States the most advanced and innovative health care system in the world. Too, I wonder what he'd think if a single-payer plan with some of the downsides of ClintonCare came along and told him he needed to abandon his lucrative, high-visibility specialty for, say, general practice, or E-room shifts, or perhaps podiatry. Too many folks in your field, doc.

As for capitalism, there's nothing less capitalistic, these days, than health care. That's the problem. Artificially low numbers of doctors keep fees high; employer- and government-provided insurance keeps Elmer and Frieda in pills, no matter the cost -- a cost they remain blissfully unaware of. What could be a bigger recipe for disaster than a captive market that never sees the bills?

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