The Importance Of Health Care

Submitted By mer77614
Words: 1666
Pages: 7

While most Americans agree that health care and health insurance are in need of improvement, the question of whether the government or the free market should be responsible for these areas. D. Eric Schansberg evaluates the relevant information in this argument and asserts that in analyzing market provided health care versus government regulated heath care, analysis needed to be made regarding three major factors. First, how competitive are the actual markets for health care. Secondly, what barriers are in place that prohibit the market from functioning normally. And finally, what is the transparency of information provided to insurers and how it influences their health care selection.
In analyzing the marketplace with respect to health care, Schansberg studied whether the outcome from competitive markets would be better than that provided by a governmentally regulated one. There are numerous providers with respect to health care especially for general practitioners. This is not necessarily true for specialized practitioners. Likewise, the urban areas have more competition than in the rural areas, although this is becoming less of a factor because transportation and communication costs are less in recent years. The evidence from Schansberg’s research allowed him to conclude that “competitive markets typically produce efficient social outcomes” (Schansberg, The Independent Review, 2014) and the health care market certainly is a competitive market.
The barriers for medical professionals are significant. There is a high level of training required in order for a professional to provide health care services. Even with these barriers, there is still the ability for doctors to compete effectively in the market.
For the insurance companies, however, there are fewer providers and more government regulations. The barriers and constraints of the government limit the number of providers that are available to consumers. “A less-regulated insurance market would clearly result in lower overhead costs, more health insurance providers, and increasing competition” (Schansberg, 2014). Likewise, Schansberg determined that government intervention exacerbates the shortcomings in the health care market. A glaring example of this is found in the Medicare program where one experiment estimates that “Medicare is associated with a 37 percent increase in real hospital expenditures” (Schansburg, 2014). Many of the studies that Schansburg examined allow a conclusion that the market failures found in healthcare are better left to the market institutions to resolve rather than impose more government interventions. One such intervention are government subsidies which are provided through the workplace and distort the health care market. Once people are insured with subsidies, typically provided through their work place, they overuse health care coverage because their copay is so small. This essentially drives the cost of coverage up. “For the insured and the insurer, the question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ the policy will be invoked and how often” (Schansberg, 2014). Transparency in the health care market place should provide insurers about their potential policies and the information provided will affect them in various ways. Young people or people in good health may choose not to purchase higher coverage while others, especially if they receive subsidies from their workplace, may select more coverage than they need. Studies show that between ¼ and ¾ of the people who are uninsured actually can afford health care but have elected not to have coverage. People have weighed the information provided regarding health care coverage and made a determination for themselves whether the cost of the coverage benefits them. “Philosophically, those disposed toward freedom will want to allow people to make choices – even those choices that are unhealthy or otherwise unwise” (Schansberg, 2014). Rather than providing subsidies, mutually beneficial trade between