Mary Ruwart on Why Health Care Costs Are So High

Mary Ruwart has a Ph.D in biophysics, taught surgery at St. Louis University Medical School and was a pharmaceutical research scientist for Upjohn.   Sounds like she probably knows something about health care which the vast majority of US Senators and Congressmembers do not.

She also nearly won the 2008 Libertarian Presidential nomination only losing to Bob Barr on the 6th ballot.  I voted for her on all 6.

She recently published this article explaining why health care costs are so high and she had a few suggestions for what should be done about it.   She’s famous for her clear explanations of difficult subjects so you should read the whole article, but here are her suggestions:

1. Allowing individuals, as well as businesses, full tax credits/deductions for medical insurance and/or medical expenditures. In the interim, encourage the use of HSAs by increasing the amount of tax-deductible contributions (currently $3000) that a person can make each year.

2. Ending insurance mandates that states impose. As an interim measure, allow insurance sales across state lines so that consumers can choose the insurance plan that best fits their needs, rather than be limited to what state legislatures allow.

3. Making doctors and their insurers liable only for actual negligence and malpractice. In the interim, caps on non-economic damages, such as those in California and Texas, lower insurance costs, but may prevent victims of actual malpractice from being appropriately compensated.

4. Ending the regulation of medical professionals and employing a system of voluntary certification instead. Studies show that certification increases the amount of quality care delivered, especially to the poor. Since practitioners are usually certified on the basis of competence, rather than on politically-correct regulations, their number and quality increases, while prices decrease.

5. Ending FDA regulation of pharmaceuticals and employing a system of third-party certification instead. The FDA doesn’t test any drugs, but simply looks over the data provided by manufacturers. Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL), which certifies electrical appliances, actually tests the products that bear its “Seal of Approval.” Such third-party testing is an excellent model for drug certification.

Prior to the time that government became the largest buyer of health care there was no health care crisis.   This is yet another disaster caused by big government.   The government broke it.  The free market is the only way to fix it.

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