Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Supply Side Health Care Solution

I have not even blogged about it until today, but regardless, another of my policy proposals has just seen international syndication thanks to Mr. Deroy Murdock and the Scripps Howard News Service. This one: a simple way to fix the health care mess. Now, there is something deeply wrong about this. I mean, after all, shouldn't I have at least set it down in black and white, spent some time marshaling my thoughts and all that? How is it that an off-the-cuff suggestion at a conference makes it into, what, scores or hundreds of papers around the world? That is just stupid.

But here it is. And here. And here. A bunch of other places too. Egads.

Here is the National Review Online version, excerpted:
"As New York philanthropist R. Randolph Richardson recently noted at an Atlas Economic Research Foundation seminar, why not reward doctors who donate their services to needy, uninsured patients? Imagine that Doctor Gomez sees the uninsured every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to noon. She could treat the value of these four hours of weekly foregone revenue as a charitable deduction.

“One fix to our health-care woes might be simply to increase and regularize the supply of pro bono care for those who cannot pay,” Richardson tells me. “Increasing the supply of pro bono care is essentially a supply-side problem, amenable to supply-side solutions. If you want more of something, tax it less. So, if you want doctors and other health-care providers to supply care to those who cannot pay, then simply reduce their taxes to zero for doing so.”

The goal here is to entice millions of health-care professionals to contribute their services to those who cannot afford them and cannot secure or purchase insurance. Why not turn thousands of clinics and examination rooms into the domestic equivalent of Doctors Without Borders?

Government should limit itself to certifying people as uninsured and needy, so that prosperous-but-stingy people do not game the system. "
Perhaps I have some emails I've drafted about this proposal, but I'm damned if I can find 'em right now. Well, there is always another post to put some much needed flesh on this skinny little notion. Shoot. I probably need a whole new blog.


Anonymous said...

I truly think the answer lies in the fact that 'most' healthcare providers have a strong sense of giving back built into their DNA and would love a health care system that reduced the friction in the process so they could easily provide care to those in need.

Imagine a system where those that qualify for Medicare/Medicaid receive it pro bono from the care givers, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. The healthcare providers are then given a tax credit (deduction) at the fair market value of the services provided.

Key #1 - Tort Reform - can't sue a caregiver doing pro bono services. Think good samaritan law here.
Key #2 - Downsize Medicare/Medicaid from 3rd party payer to issuing credentials to qualified participants and auditing caregivers for fraud.

Rod Randolph Richardson said...

Insightful comment, oh mysterious one who comments anonymously...

For an expanded exposition of this proposal, look here: