3. Grow the supply of medical care already. Proponents of Obamacare have paid a lot of attention to forcing more people into the health care system via the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion, and premium subsidies. They’ve spent next to no energy on growing the supply of medical care. It’s not a pretty picture when demand increases and supply stays flat. In fluid markets, you get price hikes; in massively regulated ones such as health care, you get long waiting times, rationing, and pissed-off customers. No wonder nurses and other practitioners are freaking out.
Robert Graboyes is an economist who studies health-care economics at The Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He says the quickest way to grow the supply of health care is to ditch all sorts of barriers to entry such as “certificate of need requirements, protectionist professional licensing, benefit and/or provider mandates, scope-of-practice limitations, restricted medical school admissions, and medical tort laws.” Scrapping all of these (and more) would be best, but deep-sixing any of them would be a great start.
Think about it: Nearly three dozen states have “certificate of need” laws governing when new hospitals can be built or existing ones can expand. In those states, existing providers can effectively veto new competition. That’s idiotic under the best of circumstances. Under Obamacare, it’s downright criminal. Columbia economist Frank Lichtenburg calculates that in terms of medical interventions, nothing beats pharmaceuticals when it comes to increasing and extending the quality of life. Yet under Obamacare, it’s still going to cost $1 billion and 10 years to bring new drugs to market.
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