Alaska’s Sarah Palin, who is running for vice president with Sen. John McCain, has better health care policy sense than Sen. Barack Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden.
Palin has pushed for less regulation of health care providers and more competition, while Obama and Biden are pushing for socialized medicine and ultimately a single-payer plan patterned after the failed systems in Canada and the U.K.
Her approach, which is described here by the Washington Post, is supported by many physicians and advocates of a pro-competition approach to health care and health insurance market reforms, and it will be opposed by executives and employees of entrenched hospitals and local health care monopolies and ologopolies who don’t want to lose business to independent clinics and specialty hospitals.
At Modern Healthcare, where I was editor for 10 years and at Health
Care Strategic Management, which I owned and edited for almost 19
years, I wrote editorials against certificates of need, which are used
by entrenched hospitals to keep entrepreneurs, including members of
their medical staffs, from entering their markets.
While clinics and specialty hospitals cherry pick profitable
business from hospitals, that’s a good thing, not a bad one as hospital
executives would have you believe. More competition gives patients
better quality and more convenient services. Whether increased
competition lowers or raises prices isn’t the point as long as
employers and other third-party payers pay most of the cost, making
patients price insensitive.
Take employers and other third parties out of the markets, and increased provider competition would drop prices substantially.