Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke’s freshman-level term paper on health care economics shows how little he knows about it.
Here’s the evidence:
He talks about the health care system in America as if there is one. There are thousands of health care systems in this country. They include the military and Veterans Administration health care systems, the investor-owned and not-for-profit health care systems and systems owned and run by states, counties and municipalities. Typical systems include hospitals, specialty hospitals, long-term care facilities and services and primary care, diagnostic, emergency care and surgical clinics. Every state and municipality that has a hospital, doctor’s office, nursing home or other health care provider is a health care and health insurance market. In addition, we have dozens of medical devices, medical supplies and pharmaceutical markets. While they are interdependent, they are not in a “system.”
He cites a Institute of Medicine report on medical errors, which has
been discredited in the Journal of the American Medical Association and other
peer-reviewed journals. I’ve also written about its flaws in Health
Care Strategic Management. Here is one of the 32 posts I’ve written
about medical errors, and it puts the number of deaths due to errors at
32,000, not the more than 100,000 projected and estimated by the IOM in
its 1999 report.
Bernanke talks about the 47 million uninsured when there are, at
most 10 million American citizens who cannot afford health insurance
and are “uninsured.” I’ve explained the math here. I’ve
written about the uninsured more than 177 times over the last five
The Fed’s chairman repeats a couple of important points.
First, no single reform will fix the health care markets.
Second. We have excellent health care services and medical products
producers in the U.S., and policy makers must be careful not to damage
what we have, which is what they’re bound to do.