The collapsing health care system

The journalist Steven Brill appeared on the program Fresh Air to talk about why the US health system. He said it is unsustainable and heading for a crash because there is no price control mechanism. He lays the blame squarely on the hospitals, drug companies who are allowed to price-gouge, and medical device manufacturers, all of whom rake in huge profits that enable them to pay their top executives high profits.

He said that Obamacare kept that terrible system intact but provided it with more low income tax-payer subsidized customers, though providing health insurance to poor people is by itself is a good thing. He says that lobbyists for hospitals, drug companies, and device manufacturers prevented the kind of cost control measures being incorporated into Obamacare (which is itself very much a Republican plan) that other countries routinely use and result in them providing better quality care at lower cost.

His prescription is to cut out the insurance companies altogether (I have long called for the elimination of this utterly parasitic sector because they provided absolutely no value), have hospitals themselves provide highly regulated insurance, and control the price of drugs. This requires much greater government involvement than currently and I think that it would be easier to have a government-run single payer system.

The Daily Show also interviewed Brill.

(These clips aired on January 5, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. doublereed says

    The cost will become so obvious to force change? Ridiculous. It’s been obvious for a long time.

  2. krambc says

    This problem has already been solved all over the world ; eventually even the US will find the solution.

    Here’s Tommy Douglas who brought pre-paid medical service to the poorest province in Canada in the 1940s:

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