February 21, 2013
SOMETHING BESIDES CHOCOLATE AND CUCKOO CLOCKS?:
The future of free-market healthcare (Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy FEBRUARY 20, 2013, Reuters)
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2013 1:25 PMThe great irony of Obama's triumph, however, is that it can pave the way for Republicans to adopt a comprehensive, market-oriented healthcare agenda. The market-oriented prescription drug program in Medicare has controlled the growth of government health spending. Similarly, conservatives can use Obamacare's important concession to the private sector -- its establishment of subsidized insurance marketplaces -- as a vehicle for broader entitlement reforms.While most Americans view their healthcare system as "free-market," Switzerland actually has the most market-oriented healthcare system in the West. It translates into universal coverage and low entitlement costs. Swiss government entities spent about 3.5 percent of gross domestic product on healthcare in 2010, compared to 8.5 percent in the United States. That's a difference of more than $5 trillion over 10 years: real money, especially relative to our $16 trillion debt.There is no "public option" in Switzerland. Instead, citizens qualify for means-tested, sliding-scale subsidies and choose among a variety of regulated, private-sector insurance products. The Swiss have the freedom to choose their own doctors, as Americans do, and access to the latest medical technologies. They also have short waiting times for appointments.