Any number of economists will tell you that medicine just has to be different from other goods and services provided on the market. They will offer elaborate theories to explain, for instance, why competitive markets won’t work for health care, and why more government is necessary, and why, in fact, today’s hospitals don’t publish their prices.
I see this mainstream “explanation” as mere apologetics, designed to justify evermore government. The truth is that medicine is “different” because legislation — at local, state, and federal levels — has made the industry different. It’s an accident of history, not something “natural” to this particular market.
But, as Obamacare further consolidates medicine under the government rubric, there appear some daring examples of non-compliance. The latest is from Dr. Michael Ciampi, of South Portland, Maine, whose family practice group has stopped accepting insurance payments of any kind, public or private.
Posting its prices on the Web, Ciampi Family Practice claims to offer substantial savings over other providers. And other benefits, too, including house calls:
Because we no longer contract with insurance companies, Medicare or Medicaid, we can be more flexible and innovative. We use technology when it helps us take better care of patients, but we refuse to use it for technology’s sake. We will not spend our visit staring at a computer screen instead of looking at you. We can also spend more time with patients than the typical provider in a “big box” medical practice. . . . We do not have physician assistants or nurse practitioners.
Ciampi is not the only (or biggest) provider to do this.
Could competition just erupt without a government-provided “solution”? Could “the market” provide the leadership medicine needs now?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.