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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

Health Care – Part 4: The Marketplace

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer’s perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

Suppose that the patient had a health savings account and a high deductible on a major medical insurance policy. Suppose he chose the level and type of coverage on his health insurance that he wanted, just like we all do for car insurance, life insurance, homeowners’ insurance, etc. Directly or indirectly, the individual would be paying for a portion of the cost of the surgery he was about to undergo. I imagine that, long before he signed the medical permission slip, he would check into the price he was going to pay, just like he checks the price of the new car before signing on the dotted line. Doesn’t that make sense?


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[Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of essays on health care in the United States. The series begins here. Hershel is challenging some of the basic foundations of our health care system, and will offer some dramatic changes... changes that will not disrupt the quality of the best health care system in the world.]

 
 
I have long been in favor of promoting the marketplace to help reduce health care costs. There are a lot of us out there, but far too few people pay attention. I have an example this week that should help persuade those who are willing to consider alternatives to the terribly inefficient and ineffective alternative: socialized medicine.

The Evil Drug Companies

My inspiration comes from a segment on "60 Minutes" about a drug called Trasylol, which reduces blood loss during surgery. Trasylol was manufactured and had been sold by Bayer for over a decade. The "60 Minutes" story focused on a Joe Randone, a 52 year-old Long Island resident. Mr. Randone was given Trasylol when he underwent heart bypass surgery in January, 2006. Apparently there was evidence of an increased incidence of kidney failure in patients treated with Trasylol. The claim is that Bayer knew of this evidence, but did not make this evidence known in a timely fashion -- certainly not in time for Joe Randone. Mr. Randone suffered kidney damage after his surgery, which led to many other complications. Joe Randone never left the hospital; he died eight months after his surgery.

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