A neighbor and friend across the street was diagnosed years ago with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic is one of the more difficult to cure and usually requires very aggressive chemotherapy for any chance of survival.
But this patient sought a second opinion at a major cancer treatment center in Texas. He found out the diagnosis was incorrect. He had an infection that was cured with simple antibiotics.
The first lesson is to always get a second opinion, best if from a completely different medical community. This is especially true for serious illnesses and treatment.
But this case is an analogy for much more. Without a proper diagnosis the best treatment is worthless; it can even severely damage the host.
We are seeking a form of political chemotherapy without a proper diagnosis. We are seeking a radical change without understanding the problem. We seek demons to destroy rather than flaws to correct
A major driver of our health care system is the separation of the consumer from the provider. First dollar coverage and third party payers have removed the consumer from the decision making process. If there is one thing most economists can agree in it is that incentives matter and we have created an incentive to over consume, increase administrative overhead, and avoid responsibility.
The problem with Obama care is that is does worse than ignore the perverse incentives we now have, it increases them. By seeking a comprehensive solution the plan changes too much and throws out much of our successes along with a few poorly understood problems.
The problem is not insurance company’s profits or doctor’s pay: the top ten companies’ profits are only a fraction of the Medicare fraud and abuse. The reality is that high quality health care is expensive, and that our system encourages over consumption and discourages responsibility.
We don’t agree on the treatment because we don’t agree on the diagnosis.