I am a big fan of Fox Business News’ John Stossel. I’ve learned so much from his work over the years and I appreciate all of the effort he’s undertaken to remind Americans about what liberty really is. Earlier this week we all learned the sad news that Stossel had been diagnosed with lung cancer (though Doctors caught it early and he should be fine), but he chose use the diagnosis as a chance to spread the message of liberty rather than to become depressed over the disease.
In informing the nation that he was sick, Stossel decided to use his situation as a teachable moment and explain why socialist healthcare (Obamacare included) is always a bad thing.
I write this from the hospital. Seems I have lung cancer.
My doctors tell me my growth was caught early and I’ll be fine. Soon I will barely notice that a fifth of my lung is gone. I believe them. After all, I’m at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked it No. 1 in New York. I get excellent medical care here.
But as a consumer reporter, I have to say, the hospital’s customer service stinks. Doctors keep me waiting for hours, and no one bothers to call or email to say, “I’m running late.” Few doctors give out their email address. Patients can’t communicate using modern technology.
I get X-rays, EKG tests, echocardiograms, blood tests. Are all needed? I doubt it. But no one discusses that with me or mentions the cost. Why would they? The patient rarely pays directly. Government or insurance companies pay.
I fill out long medical history forms by hand and, in the next office, do it again. Same wording: name, address, insurance, etc.
Customer service is sclerotic because hospitals are largely socialist bureaucracies. Instead of answering to consumers, which forces businesses to be nimble, hospitals report to government, lawyers and insurance companies…
I’m as happy as the next guy to have government or my insurance company pay, but the result is that there’s practically no free market. Markets work when buyer and seller deal directly with each other. That doesn’t happen in hospitals.
You may ask, “How could it? Patients don’t know which treatments are needed or which seller is best. Medicine is too complex for consumers to negotiate.”
But cars, computers and airplane flights are complex, too, and the market still incentivizes sellers to discount and compete on service. It happens in medicine, too, when you get plastic surgery or Lasik surgery. Those doctors give patients their personal email addresses and cell phone numbers. They compete to please patients.
What’s different about those specialties? The patient pays the bill.
Leftists say the solution to such problems is government health care. But did they not notice what happened at Veterans Affairs? Bureaucrats let veterans die, waiting for care. When the scandal was exposed, they didn’t stop. USA Today reports that the abuse continues. Sometimes the VA’s suicide hotline goes to voicemail.
Patients will have a better experience only when more of us spend our own money for care. That’s what makes markets work.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Stossel, who has done so much good work for our nation and for the cause of liberty. We are also thankful that he’s using every situation in life to communicate the value of liberty and the free market to those who will listen.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com