The Blog

Costs of Medicare/Medicaid Have Outpaced Other Health Costs by 1/3 Since 1970

7:35 AM, Jul 29, 2009 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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In this one example, we see both sides of government-run health care: waste and rationing. Because no one has to pay for care directly, there's no incentive to pursue good value. I thought that what my non-doc planned to prescribe sounded like a ridiculous waste, and I had no intention of poisoning my system with most of it. But I figured that the only way I was going to know which of the medications I should actually take was to keep my mouth shut, take my bounty home, and do some online research. However, because something has to be done to keep costs down, rationing inevitably follows -- as Loren learned. So you end up with a mix of care that you wouldn't pay for yourself, and care that you cannot get even if you would have been willing to pay for it yourself.

One last anecdote about the military's first-class-meets-DMV-style medicine that the rest of the country will get soon enough, should ObamaCare pass. Three years ago, my wife (not then my wife) had salmonella poisoning. She went to the military clinic, and the nurse-practitioner ran inadequate tests and gave her a useless antibiotic to tide her over. When her tests were inconclusive, she returned for a second visit days later for more tests. In response to her complaint of severe dehydration, and of having lost more than one-seventh of her body weight, the technician asked if she had been given an IV, but did not offer one after my future wife replied that she had not. After ten days of prolonged suffering with severe food poisoning, she finally received the diagnosis and treatment she needed, while never once seeing an actual doctor.

In short, government-run health care is the ticket to higher costs, less choice, and worse care.