Obamacare

Reason TV's Best Health Care Videos

How best to fix the U.S. health care system? Undo all the earlier fixes.

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Reason TV's health-care coverage has always viewed the Affordable Care Act in its properly Sisyphean context: Obamacare is a government fix for problems created by an earlier government fix for problems created by an earlier government fix. How best to fix the U.S. health care system? Undo all the earlier fixes.

So our videos have highlighted the ugly mess U.S health care was before Obamacare and how Obamacare made something terrible even worse. Medicaid has done a poor job of serving America's poor, so Obamacare expanded the program. State laws allowed large hospitals to block new competitors, so Obamacare made it even harder for new health care facilities to open. Because of a quirk in U.S. tax policy, insurance policies cover even routine medical costs, which leads to general price inflation. And so Obamacare piled on new rules and mandates that cover yet more procedures.

Reason TV has profiled health care entrepreneurs who've found innovative ways around all the government rules to actually lower prices and improve patient care, offering a glimpse at what medicine would look like if only the government would get out of the way and let markets function.

Here's a quick tour of highlights from our past coverage.

"Can Medical Tourism Save Us From Obamacare?," Reason TV, January 29, 2013.

About 50,000 Canadians go abroad every year for treatment at a foreign hospital, escaping a single-payer system that makes patients wait on average four months for non-emergency procedures. As the U.S. health care system becomes more like Canada's, medical tourism may become just as vital in this U.S.

Thailand's Bumrungrad International Hospital serves 400,000 foreign patients a year. |||

Medical facilities abroad show what happens when patients cover their own health care bills, and doctors and hospitals have to fight for their business. In India, heart-valve surgery costs one-tenth the U.S. price; in South Korea, gastric bypass surgery costs about half what American hospitals charge. Thailand's renowned Bumrungrad International Hospital, which serves 400,000 foreigners a year, is home to some of the world's best clinicians. Medical travelers aren't confined to windowless rooms and fed tater tots and jello cups—foreign health care facilities treat their patients like guests at a resort, offering a holistic approach to wellness and healing.

"Oklahoma Doctors vs. Obamacare?," Reason TV, November 15, 2012.

Dr. Keith Smith, managing partner of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, did something that would only be considered radical in the health care industry: He posted his all-inclusive prices, often a small fraction of what traditional hospitals charge, on his website. Patients started showing up from around the world.

The Surgery Center has no dedicated administrative staffers. Dr. Keith Smith manages the facility and works as an anesthesiologist on the floor.|||

Smith can maintain unusually low prices because he's figured out a way to solve many of the coordination problems typical at U.S. hospitals. Surgeons and patients don't have to wait around while support staffers struggles with the basic logistics of moving patients from preoperative care into the operating room. The Surgery Center's impeccable operations explain why many of Oklahoma's top doctors favor the facility as a place to perform their procedures.

Oklahoma City's largest traditional hospital Integris pays its top 18 administrators average salaries of more than $400,000; Smith, himself part of the Surgery Center's team of anesthesiologist, has no dedicated administrative employees. "One reason our prices are so low," says Smith, "is that we don't have administrators running around in their four or five thousand dollar suits."

"Treat Me Like a Dog: What Human Health Care Can Learn from Pet Care," Reason TV, February 25, 2010.

Why does Oklahoma City have an unusually consumer-friendly health care sector that's made it possible for people like Keith Smith to do business? Twenty-five years ago, the state rolled back its Certificate of Need (CON) laws. As

What human health care can learn from pet care. |||

Ted Balaker reported for Reason TV back in 2010, CON laws, which are still in effect in 35 states, explain in part why dogs and cats often get better medical treatment than people.

CON laws, which differ slightly state-to-state, generally empower local planning boards to block new medical facilities from opening on the grounds that they're providing new supply that could drive down prices. "The existing hospitals go in front of these government agencies and say, 'we don't need any competitors, we're taking fine care of the people,'" Reason's Ron Bailey told Balaker.

Entrepreneurial vets, on the other hand, face no artificial barriers to entry. Dr. Peter Weinstein, executive director of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, opened his doors in about 12 weeks. "In veterinary medicine," says Weinstein, "we could have two practices right next to each other and then it's the consumer deciding to whom they want to go."

"How Medicaid & Obamacare Hurt the Poor—and How to Fix Them," Reason TV, April 25, 2013.

If the U.S. were to move to a market-driven health care system in which most patients paid their own routine medical bills out of pocket, many Americans would still require assistance.

Dr. Alieta Eck with a patient. |||

Medicaid, the safety net program we have, is a disaster. The program often pays doctors so little that it's difficult for recipients to get an appointment, which is why they show up at emergency rooms at nearly double the rate of the privately insured. The challenges Medicaid recipients face in getting basic care explains why they're more likely than even the uninsured to have late stage cancer at first diagnosis, and they're about twice as likely as the privately insured to die in the hospital after surgery.

What would a better safety-net program look like? Dr. Alieta and Dr. John Eck, primary-care physicians based in Piscataway, New Jersey, who run a free health care clinic in Somerset, New Jersey, have an idea.

"Obamacare vs. Samaritan Health-Care Ministry: A Case Study," Reason TV, October 1, 2013.

Samaritan Ministries member Roger Stuber. |||

Before there were large government programs like Medicaid, many Americans turned to "mutual aid societies" to help pay their medical bills. In 1910, an estimated one-third of American men belonged to one of these organizations in which members pitched in to help each other during times of need.

"Health care sharing ministries," which are some of the last mutual aid societies still around, highlight what's wrong with our insurance-driven health care system—and the unintended consequences of Obamacare's health care exchanges.

"Would Hayek Have Approved Obamacare," Reason TV, February 14, 2013.

Would the great patron saint of contemporary libertarianism and champion of pricing as a system for conveying knowledge have supported the Affordable Care Act?

In an interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie, George Mason University philosopher Erik Angner talks about his 2012 Politico op-ed in which he argued that Hayek may have liked certain aspects of Obamacare, such as the individual mandate and some sort of redistribution to the poor. At the same time, Angner says that Hayek would have staunchly opposed any policies that hobble the functioning of a price system. The bottome line: It's possible to provide for the poor without beating market incentives out of the entire health-care industry.

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31 responses to “Reason TV's Best Health Care Videos

  1. Wear pajamas.
    Drink hot chocolate.
    Angrily whack off to the cheerleader you never got to fuck in high school.
    #getwhackin

    1. cheerleader you never got to fuck in high school.

      Speak for yourself.

      1. Go on…

      2. Evan. I just agree… Patrick`s report is impressive… last tuesday I bought a great Volkswagen Golf GTI after I been earnin $8978 this-last/5 weeks an would you believe $10,000 last-munth. it’s realy the easiest-job Ive ever done. I began this 3 months ago and immediately got me over $73 per-hr. I went to this website works33.com
        (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

      3. If he’s talking about pajama boy, I’d say that’s a safe bet. If PJB is hetero, I doubt he even hooked up with any girls from the pep club.

        1. Note – my contempt is based on the celebration of an ostensible adult acting like a child. It’s not enough that “free” health insurance is at the heart of this, the proper way to “discuss” this is to dress and act like a 9 year old.

          1. Note – my contempt is based on the celebration of an ostensible adult acting like a child.

            It’s rather telling that in all these Obamacare ads, the people are all shown to have the emotional maturity of a child.

      4. What, you had all of them? You go girl.

        1. This is definitely interesting.

    1. Interesting conversation from the comments section of this article, sounds straight out of an old HnR thread:

      CleverInnuendo: “…..that’s the reason circumcision blew up in non-jewish culture in the 1800’s to early 1900’s. The same era that brought us … the YMCA to keep men’s upper body active and away from the genitals, came the realization that circumcised boys have less sensitivity than those born natural, and would have less desire to self pleasure.

      dano6946: Ummm…..no, it’s because an uncircumcised dick is just about the most repulsive thing in the world and guys finally figured out that’s why girls didn’t want to get anywhere near them.

      1. I thought that is was so that your hand doesn’t slip off.

      2. Circumcision causes rape.

  2. “Man, 21, handcuffs himself to highway rest stop ‘where he was conceived’ to protest its closure

    “Kevin Walters protested the closure of Des Plaines Oasis on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway in Illinois

    “He handcuffed himself to a door for a day, claiming it had sentimental value

    “He said he was conceived there after his parents made their way home from a Phil Collins concert 21 years ago

    “Walters works, from Crystal Lakes, works for 103.9 The Fox radio station

    “The oasis, which opened in 1959, houses a customer service center, a 7-Eleven and numerous fast food joints

    “It will close Sunday due to plans to widen the road”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..osure.html

    1. Wait.

      Phil Collins concert.

      21 years ago.

      That’s 1993.

      I hate to break it to you kid, but your parents were SQUARES!

  3. If this story is true (and I have to admit that my BS meter is trembling), the gal’s gonna save more than what O-care wastes:

    “This CEO is out for blood”
    http://fortune.com/2014/06/12/…..od-holmes/

    Bonus:
    “Whether it grew out of her father’s experiences at Tenneco or family lore?they are descendants of a founder of the Fleischmann’s Yeast company?Elizabeth grew up admiring private industry. “At a relatively early age I began to believe that building a business was perhaps the greatest opportunity for making an impact,” she says, “because it’s a tool for making a change in the world.””

    1. I like it. Good read. I can see some testing lab lobbyists having a problem with this. Wonder what type of skeletons she has in the closet. Aside from being a college dropout, that is.

      1. I can only hope she doesn’t follow Job’s approach to personal medical treatments.

    2. No details. Still, if it pans out one has to ask why the socialist paradises of Europe couldn’t generate this advance like they missed out on so many others before it.

  4. The progressives won. There is no longer any distinction between “health insurance” and “health care.” And, oh by the way, the Republicans are complicit.

    1. Their win is temporary. Nothing that is based on coercion (and fraud) can last.

      1. I hope you’re right. Unfortunately, I’m not sure anything “can last.”

      2. True. The House of Rurik fell. Eventually.

  5. SHARK ATTACK!!!!
    I’m going to the beach soon.

  6. “Government is the only enterprise in the world which expands in size when its failures increase.” Janice Rogers Brown

  7. It is good, when Reason(TV) reports on things that people are actually doing to implement efficient, patient-centered, free-market health care in the modern day, despite Medicaid, Medicare, Obamacare, the dominant, employer provided “insurance” access model, etc. Thank you.

    Another great thing to do, would be to create video segments that illustrate how American health care WORKED in the years before Medicare and the employer provided “insurance” model dominated. Video reports on “lodge-practice,” constant-dollar costs of health care, “then” vs. “now,” the usual health care experience, “then” vs. “now,” and other exclusive or comparative looks back to the days when we had a more-or-less “free” market in health care, would go a long way toward encouraging people that we don’t simply have to lie back and take creeping socialism mixed with crony capitalism, because “that’s the only system we have ever known.” People need to know that American health care once worked within the sharp memories of many still alive today. Right now, too many think that wishes for true, free-market health care are unrealistic, because such an approach has never succeeded in the US before, but “national health care” has been shown in other countries to work for decades. People need to see that the alternative is possible, and that we actually benefited from it in the US for a long period.

    1. In the 1950’s, medical insurance was called “hospitalization.” It was much more like car insurance. You’d pay for routine stuff out of pocket, like a tuneup or a checkup, and insurance was for catastrophic unexpected stuff.

      My grandpa was a doctor during the depression, and people would pay their bills with chickens and stuff.

    2. Came across REASON.COM’s Jim Epstein and other liberal comments ridiculing and predicting the demise of faith-based health care programs when the Affordable Health Care Act is fully implemented. Now three years later, the socialized medicine forced upon the USA continues its financial death spiral (and we pray not taking the country with it!) while faith-based programs are flourishing.

      Try as hard as “free-thinkers” may, for over forty years they continually run head-on with reality that self-determined life styles so popular in the liberal world ultimately create serious and long-term individual and family problems.
      Are faith-based programs perfect? No, but they are a vast improvement over all the insurances hundreds of thousands (or more) of us have been exposed to and paid for over the last forty years. There’s a rub though-the programs are not for everybody. Specific, responsible and faith-based life-styles based on First Amendment Right of Religious Freedom are the core reasons costs remain practical. It would be interesting to hear an honest assessment of these programs using honest and real REASON by REASON.COM

    3. Came across REASON.COM’s Jim Epstein and other liberal comments ridiculing and predicting the demise of faith-based health care programs when the Affordable Health Care Act is fully implemented. Now three years later, the socialized medicine forced upon the USA continues its financial death spiral (and we pray not taking the country with it!) while faith-based programs are flourishing.

      Try as hard as “free-thinkers” may, for over forty years they continually run head-on with reality that self-determined life styles so popular in the liberal world ultimately create serious and long-term individual and family problems.
      Are faith-based programs perfect? No, but they are a vast improvement over all the insurances hundreds of thousands (or more) of us have been exposed to and paid for over the last forty years. There’s a rub though-the programs are not for everybody. Specific, responsible and faith-based life-styles based on First Amendment Right of Religious Freedom are the core reasons costs remain practical. It would be interesting to hear an honest assessment of these programs using honest and real REASON by REASON.COM

  8. ” How best to fix the U.S. health care system? ”

    How about freedom to buy and sell health care services from who you want, when you want, without getting permission from an agent of the state first?

    Nah, Reason would never write an article about actual health care freedom. Freedom is *crazy* talk.

    1. An unconstitutional law isn’t a law.

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