According to Matt, it's over-treatment. Yep: they're making us too healthy, those fee-based doctors. Can't have that, can we? Here's the preferred policy:
Brownlee's alternative is to turn doctors into salaried employees charged with doing the job of keeping people healthy, rather than into fee-for-service professionals whose level of compensation depends on how much treatment they prescribe. That seems appealing to me, but it's considerably more radical than anything being contemplated in the political system right now.
And who would be paying their salaries? The government of course, in some form or another, looking over doctors' and patients' shoulders to make sure they don't behave incorrectly, by over-prescribing, or prescribing one of those new, expensive drugs that actually cure or treat diseases. (Of course, if Matt and liberal Democrats have their way, there will be far far fewer new expensive drugs anyway.) It's often clarifying to see the leftist mind at work: we know best; the profit-motive is inherently suspect; doctors and patients cannot be trusted with their own health decisions. Yes, I know insurance companies and HMOs make similar decisions. But if you think they're callous and irrational, wait till you give the same powers to Washington D.C.
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