Free Markets, Free People

When controlling cost becomes primary, the care given becomes secondary

The concept in the title isn’t a difficult one to grasp, yet it seems to be one that eludes any number of people who think government can cut medical care costs and improve care simultaneously.

A growing number of states are sharply limiting hospital stays under Medicaid to as few as 10 days a year to control rising costs of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

So what does that mean?  Well, it’s a vicious circle that ends up costing more, because of one tiny problem:

In Arizona, hospitals won’t discharge or refuse to admit patients who medically need to be there, said Peter Wertheim, spokesman for the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. "Hospitals will get stuck with the bill," he said.

That will most likely be the case for all hospitals.

And the result?

Advocates for the needy and hospital executives say the moves will restrict access to care, force hospitals to absorb more costs and lead to higher charges for privately insured patients.

Econ 101.

And what will happen?

Cost will continue to spiral upward for everyone.

And continue to do so.


For fiscal 2012, the association estimated state Medicaid spending will rise 19%, largely because of the end of the federal stimulus dollars.

The program served 69 million people last year.

That number will go up as millions are added under ObamaCare.

Your “cost cutting” government at work.


Twitter: @McQandO

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8 Responses to When controlling cost becomes primary, the care given becomes secondary

  • Time to start asking one of the classic science fiction questions: “If this goes on…?”

    How much longer before you’ve got to be somebody important to the government bureaucracy in order to get treatment *at all*?

  • “There is no free good”.
    The rational choices made by people in a market as to their allocation of THEIR scarce resources WILL be made by others under a planned system.
    Rationing will be the necessary outcome.

  • As I pointed out to Herr Dumbkopf Doktor Erb the other day when he was bragging on the EU’s ‘free’ medical care – the care given will be done to a standard accepted practice, and probably jumped way over his pointy little head when I reminded him that the standard accepted practice in the Roman empire was to abandon or leave a child exposed to the elements if the child didn’t look healthy or had an obvious deformity.   Given that he’s convinced our rights are granted us by our government and aren’t inherent I thought maybe he’d see the grim potentials but I was probably doing it in vain.
    If you believe your medical treatment is based on your wallet, the fact of the matter is, when government decides how much care you get, as opposed to your financial status, the only thing that will change will be who gets treated, it’ll go from people with the money/insurance, to people with government influence.
    But WORST of all, there won’t be any exceptions taken on by an independent agency like a hospital who answers only to their board, it’ll suddenly become them answering to a pointed headed person like Erb, 1000 miles away in his moose watching lodge, demanding to know WHY they hospital gave patient X with stage 4 cancer ANY additional treatment beyond pain killers until they died because, to cut costs, THAT is now the standard government approved practice (the beatings will continue until people learn better and STOP getting cancer!).  Rather than quality of life, it’ll be a simple and brutal calculation of cost, the same as Napoleonic triage where they sawed off the limbs rather than try to save them because they could save 6 men’s lives in an hour instead of just one man’s leg.
    I have a son who had all sorts of operations, one of which now commonly done, at the time was nearly experimental (we had other doctors who recommended against it).  I have to believe under a government run system that operation would never have happened.  I HAVE one of the marginal kids that the American system of medicine of 20 years ago didn’t write off because they had to ration treatment.  I’ll take my chances with the system the way it is, as opposed to what the government will surely do with it.

  • Hey, remember that whole EU cool free medical care thingie?   Yeah, well, rubber, meet road…
    Of course I’m SURE this will have no effect on all those really cool social services (until it does).

  • I often wonder how many of the so called “needy” are OWS types that really NEED a boot in the ass?
    How much STEMs[1] from a fluff degree in “Victims Studies” leading to a $200K loan burden?
    [1] STEM; Science, Technology, Engineering, Math…you know, those subjects only the Asian immigrants take.

    • Couple that with an interesting piece on colleges and universities deliberately scheduling classes required for completion of a major in such a way that it effectively can’t be done in just 4 years…..
      I recall scheduling being a problem in the 70’s, but not so you couldn’t manage to complete in 4 years if you had half an ounce of the brains you allegedly brought to college, but the allegation is they now deliberately ‘enhance’ your educational experience by making it tough to complete in 4 years via course schedules.  Neat eh?
      Who says computers haven’t helped us?  It’s probably a lot easier now to build that kind of a schedule on the schools part than it was then when you had to write all that messy COBOL code to do it.  🙂