Monday, March 12, 2012

And things get worse . . .

Avik Roy part 2:
The VA system could be turned into a huge asset for our nation's health-care system if it were privatized. One of the big drivers of rising health spending is hospital monopolies: when one or two hospitals dominate a particular region, those hospitals have the power to charge whatever they want to insurers and patients. If civilians were allowed to use VA hospitals, and vice-versa for veterans, we could significantly improve this problem. In addition, if the VA hospitals have indeed come up with operational efficiencies, competing private-sector hospitals would be forced to adopt those efficiencies, or lose patients.

If liberals are right, and the VA is a model, competition will force private hospitals to improve on both quality and cost. If conservatives are right, and VA hospitals are terrible, privatization would allow veterans to gain access to superior private-sector health care, while increasing provider competition. Seems like a win-win.
So if I think that a single payer model creates efficiency then the way to test that would be to privatize the system so that we could see if it was equally good as a multi-payer system.  The things that make a single payer system efficient -- less adminsitrative overhead, rationing, ability to implement cost-effective standards of care, no need to run at a profit -- would all vanish in a competitive market place.  Because each insurance plan would have different rules and paperwork requirements which would rapidly undermine a lot of the single payer efficiency. 

So how is abandoning the model used by liberals (single payer) to privatize VA hospitals going to work out as a "win-win"? 

The best analogy I can come up with is comparing a privately held company to one that is publicly traded.  The idea that the private company should become publicly traded so that one can judge if it is more efficient than the publicaly traded company ignores the possibility that it is more efficient because it is privately held. 

So I think that this idea isn't going to show what Mr Roy claims it will show. 

No comments:

Post a Comment