In his column “Nothing healthy about health insurance,” Edgar Allem Beem pontificates that “health care, like education, should not be a business.” In what world?

As with any exchange of goods or services, profit and competition tend to police the marketplace, but only if consumers act in their self-interest, voting with their dollars. We don’t bargain for the lowest price of an appendectomy since this is covered by medical insurance. Medicare and Medicaid have fostered this irresponsible complacency, and encouraged increased charges, and fraud.

Consider elective events like Lasik eye surgery, or cosmetic procedures where prices dropped due to competition. Health care under government bondage is more likely to increase costs, and ruin the product without market influences.

Government is never efficient, effective, or innovative. Health care is a commodity. Someone has to pay the nurse dispensing meds at the bedside. This is not the purpose of government, and Obamacare will price excellent care out of reach for most. Liberals don’t want to admit this will happen, but history says it will.

Government arrogance also contributes to our health-care failures. Look at the crime perpetuated against Maine hospitals due to MaineCare non-payments. This increases costs for all. Medicare and Medicaid are rife with fraud and bureaucratic entanglements. Horror stories abound concerning health care at Veterans Administration hospitals.

Equating health care to education is Beem’s worst argument. Do we really aspire to rank 27th worldwide in health care, as we do in math and science?

A little market reality would help both education and health care.

Bruce LeClaire

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