"Despite all the talk about waste and abuse in our health system (which no doubt exists to some degree), the main driver of increasing health care costs is advances in medical technology. The medical profession is always figuring out new ways to prolong and enhance life, and that is a good thing, but those new technologies do not come cheap. For each new treatment, we have to figure out if it is worth the price, and who is going to get it.In answer to his Big Question, I'd vote for the consumer (and I mean the patient rather than hospitals) since they have to pay the tab one way or the other. To that end, price transparency of goods and services should be required for anyone involved in health care delivery. In short, every effort should be made to empower patients in such complicated decision making.
The push for universal coverage is based on the appealing premise that everyone should have access to the best health care possible whenever they need it. That soft-hearted aspiration, however, runs into the hardheaded reality that state-of-the-art health care is increasingly expensive. At some point, someone in the system has to say there are some things we will not pay for. The big question is, who? The government? Insurance companies? Or consumers themselves? And should the answer necessarily be the same for everyone?"
Until then, special interests will continue to wield far too much influence (and price pressure) over those most affected most by the health care delivery transaction.