Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obamacare Will Destroy Innovation

Our leadership in Congress loves to demonize the free market. They pick out certain industries to agitate the population into thinking that they (the population) are being taken advantage of. In the last 6 months, we have seen the mortgage industry, the banking industry, the automobile industry and, now, the medical insurance industry demonized to frame the political discussion in Washington. All these efforts are an assault on ONE thing, the free market economy that our country was built on.

Consider the workings of the free market as it relates to the medical industry. Millions of people work countless hours to bring us healthcare that we generally take for granted. That's not a bad thing, it's just a simple fact that typifies a free market. Those countless people behind our healthcare system have found niches that are too numerous to mention, but I'll suggest a few: cardiology, dentistry, neo-natal care, labor and delivery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, pediatrics, geriatrics, etc., etc., etc.

The United States' healthcare system is HUGE. There are millions of participants dedicated to an enormous range of specialties. These participants continually look for ways to improve the experience and care of their patients. In a lot of cases, these participants are rewarded for improving processes, suggesting enhancements, and improving overall care. This is the dynamic of a free market system. A better process/procedure/experience will improve the bottom line, aka, profits. That is a good word in the free market. It's what made buggy whips obsolete, or, at best, highly unprofitable.

What does the government offer? No profits, no incentives, no improvements, no rewards, just cost containment. The millions of committed healthcare workers can never be replaced by a handful of bureaucrats in Washington. Nor can we replace the competition that drives innovation in our automobile industry. If there is no competition, there is no innovation. Think of it this way: innovation is spurred by the motivation to increase PROFIT! And profit increases employment, salaries and return on investment. Success is rewarded in a free market economy, not demonized.

This entire debate on healthcare is an abomination of free market economics. I don't care what you call it. Whether it be "single payer, public option, co-op or government mandate", it's all the same and it results in the destruction of the free market. It destroys innovation, it destroys incentive, it eliminates the one thing that has made our economy the best in the history of the world: the pursuit of wealth/profit!

Why do you think there are so many TV shows about doctors/hospitals/nurses? It's because there are so many of them out there. The population of people in the health care industry can drive viewership. Why bother? Because it's profitable!

Even more, if cost containment is the main consideration in treating age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's and Dimentia, what incentive is there to pursue cures for these issues? Innovation in medicine is driven by demand. If the government defines these two ailments as, in essence, "lost causes", what incentive is there to invest in research and development to find cures?

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