The Uber of Medical Care

Why not have an Uber for medical care? Let the free market forces cut the cost by letting doctors compete! At the link, LGM discusses why this concept (discussed at Investors Business Daily (you can click through at the link) is an impractical idea. I was struck by the following quote from IBM explaining why conventional explanations for medical costs are wrong:  ” “Medical advances can help us get well, avoid disease and delay death, but they also drive up spending,” says an NPR report. “Patients and doctors often demand the newest treatments, even if there is little or no evidence that they are better.” In any other context, such a statement would be ludicrous. Why would any consumer demand a more expensive product if they had no idea whether it would work?”

Hmm, because they don’t know and don’t trust their doctor? Because all that drug advertising on TV convinces them a new drug will work? Because cooked studies make them think it will work? Because when it comes to our health, we’re scared and desperate? Or is IBM seriously suggesting that the best product (however you define that) will always win out, because that’s not true in a lot of markets.

I’m also amused by the assertion that health costs going up because we have insurance (and are therefore shielded from the real cost) is “a largely unrecognized problem”—right-wingers have been beating that drum for years. In reality, of course, insurers don’t underwrite every little thing (except for a few very high-powered policies for the upper-income brackets), and forcing more costs onto patients is guaranteed to leave some patients not going when they need to (and I don’t imagine any Uber miracle will end up making the same quality care cheaper). I mean the whole purpose of health insurance is to cover our costs; it’s a kind of libertarian political correctness that this is a bad thing. If the market isn’t working the way libertarian theory dictates, obviously we mere mortals are screwing it up.

•The Vanilla Isis crew still at the wildlife refuge say they’re willing to leave, once the FBI guarantees it won’t arrest them.

•Rand Paul says the legality of abortion should be left to the states … unless the federal government can ban it, then it’s a federal matter.

•Digby discusses a Rick Perlstein interview about the difference between Trump and right-wingers who’ve milked white resentment in the  past: “They benefitted from hate, to be sure. But by using the dogwhistle they at least signalled that there was no room for open white nationalism in political discourse. Today dogwhistles are called ‘political correctness’.”

•Ted Cruz claims his family were without insurance because of Obamacare’s rules. It’s not true.

•Currently you have to buy your set-top cable box from the cable company. The FCC has a proposal that may increase competition in this area; Comcast unsurprisingly hates it.

•A law professor argues T-Mobile’s Binge On program (which exempts certain streaming services from monthly allotments) violates the law.

•A Wal-Mart pharmacist complained that staffing cuts were putting customers at risk. Wal-Mart fired her, but says it was for losing her pharmacy key. A jury has hit the Big Box store with $31 million in penalties.

•Before the Michigan state government decided Flint’s water supply was a problem, it thought it was a big enough risk to provide other water for state employees.

•A choking man drives into a parked car. The owner then pursues him with a gun. Just another example of how “an armed society is a polite society” doesn’t work.


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