A Doctor’s Opinion

The following is a quote I saved from a doctor I follow on social media:

“We should not return to the situation that we had before Obamacare. That was terrible, although not as terrible as after Obamacare. It was terrible because of government regulation. Some people are asking what should be put in to replace Obamacare. Repeal the act, and do not replace it with anything. Rather, keep repealing layers of government intervention that made health care so expensive before Obamacare was passed. Prior to Obamacare, health care was, along with education, the most heavily regulated sector of our economy. Prior to government control becoming so entrenched, in 1960, an uncomplicated appendectomy could be had for $150. That adjusts for inflation to $1,223 in 2016. Delivery of a baby, with a 4 day hospital stay, was $50 in 1950, converting for inflation to $501 in 2016. Average spending per capita on health care was remaining under $500 in the first half of the twentieth century, again adjusting to today’s dollars. Technological advancements were racing forward. Estimated longevity increased 44% in the first half of the twentieth century, due largely to development of new medications, including antibiotics, and development of new surgical techniques, xrays, EKGs, etc., all while health care spending only increased 1.9% per year above general inflation. In the second half of the twentieth century, with government involvement, longevity increased by only 13%, while spending jumped to over $8,000 per person. Service declined dramatically. House calls, and thorough and prompt service, suffered. This was before Obamacare, but with heavy government regulation. Tax incentives toward third party coverage were the main reason. The creation of Medicare and Medicaid, with their stifling regulations that drive up the cost of providing health care, also caused much of the damage. The HMO Act of 1973, CLIA, state insurance mandates, Stark laws, DEA, the FDA, ERISA, etc. all piled on more layers of government interference. We have not had anything resembling a free market in health care in many decades. Let’s try a wild, radical new approach – freedom. Get the government out of it. Then health care could be affordable to common people just like advanced electronics are now. Have you noticed how technology keeps advancing, while prices continue dropping, in electronics? Go into the home of a so-called “poor” American, and look at the electronics they have. There is a free market in electronics, but not in health care. Get the government out of health care, and MRI scans will be just as affordable as wide-screen TVs. Supply and demand affect health care just as they affect every other area of economic activity. Government interference has been inhibiting supply and driving demand for decades, leading to our high costs…….. I used to favor a nationalized health care system, until I went to medical school and learned what damage our semi-socialized system was doing to the country and even to the people it was purported to be helping. Now I run a family practice, operating as closely to free market principles as possible in America today. Fees are so affordable that even waitresses sometimes leave me tips. You will be surprised what free markets can do, not just in family practice, but even in more complicated care like surgery.

So what should replace Obamacare? Nothing. If I have a patient with skin cancer, I cut it out, and do not replace it with anything. We need to excise the malignancy, government regulation, that is threatening the life of our health care system. That cancer has been growing for decades. Do not replace it with anything, just keep excising until it is gone.”

Dr. James Brook

Dr. James Brook is the author of the book, The High Price of Socialized Medicine.