Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nobody in the middle of a heart attack shouts, “Let's go shopping!”

As many of you know, I have been doing a lot of reading and research surrounding this issue of the deregulation of the Certificate of Need (CON) and have been writing extensively about the reasons why the legislature here in Florida should not repeal the program. Recently, the State Senator Rob Bradley introduced legislation (SB 676) to repeal CON in Florida and House members Miller and Renner subsequently offered a companion bill in the House (CS/HB7).

As I argued in a recent post, No Place for Health Care in a Free Market Economy, health care does not operate in a free market space. Therefore, the benefits of deregulation do not apply to health care as they do, say, in the airline industry.

I recently came across this clever 2014 “listicle” by Merrill Goozner from Modern Healthcare which gives a Late Night with David Letterman “Top 10” send up of the reasons why health care is not a free market. I found his list to be fairly spot on and worth sharing. Here is a recap of his list:

10. “Most care is delivered locally and will remain that way.” This is his way of explaining that competition by foreign competitors, which can affect price, does not really exist in health care.

9. “Physician assistants, nurses, lab techs and other specialized personnel labor under overly restrictive licensing laws” and thus, the workforce is not easily replaceable.

8. “Doctors belong to professional guilds” which limit access to the profession and establish licensing protocols regardless of cost.

7.  “Pharmecutical and medical device firms use patent monopolies” which equates to very high prices.

6. “Most non-routine healthcare is delivered by not-for-profit charities.”

5. “Comparison shopping is complex for patients, as well as confusing and nearly impossible, because outcomes are variable, success isn't guaranteed.”

4.  “The law says no one can be denied healthcare when needed.”

3. “Patients, even those in high-deductible insurance plans, pay for only a fraction of the cost of healthcare.”

2. “Insurers can pass along all costs in the form of higher premiums”

1. And the number one (1) reason why health care is not a free market . . . .“nobody in the middle of a heart attack shouts, “Let's go shopping!”

Again, if you are concerned about how the deregulation of CON and specifically, Senate Bill (SB 676) or House Bill (CS/HB7) will affect your access to high quality and affordable health care, I encourage to reach out to your legislators and make your voice heard.

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