Many people are worried that we are going to have socialized medicine in the U.S. Unfortunately, I don't think most of these people understand that our current system is far from capitalist. There are still certain elements of the free market in medicine today, but overall, the system if far closer to fascism and socialism than it is to capitalism.
I want to point out just some of the reasons for the high cost of medical care today. They all have to do with government in some way. This could include state, local, or federal government. This is nothing close to an exhausted list. These are just a few of the major reasons for the high cost of medical care, which oftentimes coincide with an overall lower quality of medical care.
- There are state laws that prevent buying health insurance across state lines, unlike car insurance or homeowners insurance.
- Employers can deduct health insurance expenses. Individuals cannot deduct medical expenses in many cases on individual tax returns. There is a government incentive to have health insurance tied to your employer.
- Medicare is socialized medicine for senior citizens.
- Medicaid is socialized medicine for poor people.
- Patent laws make pharmaceutical drugs vastly more expensive than they would otherwise be.
- You must obtain a permission slip (a prescription) to get certain drugs from a pharmacy. You cannot be trusted as an adult to make decisions. A small percentage of the population might abuse this freedom, therefore we all have to suffer.
- You must have a government license to be a doctor, even though many nurses and other people would be qualified enough to give certain medical advice.
- Drug companies spend tens of millions of dollars, or more, getting drugs approved by the FDA. This keeps many drugs from ever being discovered. It keeps potentially life-saving medicine out of the market.
- The government makes it illegal to use marijuana, even for medical purposes in most places. This is a potentially low-cost drug with a vast number of benefits.
- State laws mandate insurance to cover certain things. You may have to pay for insurance against certain things like pregnancy or drug rehab, even if you don't plan on getting pregnant or using drugs.
- Companies that sell vitamins and supplements are not legally allowed to advertise the medical benefits of their products.
- The government makes up a food pyramid that gives good ratings to high-carb foods, while criticizing foods high in saturated fats. People use margarine instead of butter (as just one example), at the government's advice. Is this one of the reasons for the high epidemic in chronic illnesses in America?
- There are thousands of regulations which doctors must follow, causing extremely high administrative costs.
- The politicians are bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the insurance industry. It is no surprise that the government tries to push expensive drugs, expensive tests, and expensive treatments.
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) only exist because we have a federal income tax. At least with an HSA, you can carry over your money from year to year. FSAs are absolutely foolish (although I certainly don't blame people for using them). It is a good example of unintended consequences encouraged by the government. If you have an FSA where you must use it or lose it in that calendar year, then it actually encourages you to incur more medical expenses before the year is over.
These are just a few of the ways that government makes our medical care expensive. If we had a free market system, medical care would be extremely cheap and I am guessing we would see a much smaller number of chronic illnesses. If you get into more detail and spend some time researching, you can find hundreds of examples where government makes medical care more expensive than it should be. We have nothing close to a capitalist system right now.