It should come as no surprise that, as medicine is a ‘for profit’ venture, doctors do things for profit – the more a doctor does the more money he makes. Conservatives argue that competition cuts costs – but medicine isn’t consumed like electronics. If you want a TV, you can do easy research and get the best deal. But if you’re ill, you cannot compare prices on the internet, you have to take yourself to the doctor – who doesn’t have a prce list on her wall. And unlike auto repair shops doctors don’t give estimates.
Added to this profit motive, is a lack of incentive for doctors to save money in other areas. Medicine in America is a ‘pill first’ proposition. Doctors may make some noise about lifestyle changes, but, in the main, the solution is an expensive test and a prescription for a drug, the cost of which is unknown to the prescriber.
Conservatives claim that competition among private insurers will drive down price – maybe – but as long as medicine is ‘for profit’, it will only drop from ‘way, way too much’ to ‘way too much’.
It has gotten so bad that even the medical specialty boards of such disciplines as cardiologists, radiologists, gastroenterologists and the like, have told their members to cut back; issuing guidelines based on ‘don’t do’ as much as ‘do’.