When asked about the problem with healthcare and how to resolve the issues involved with its complexities, Ted Metz, The Libertarian Candidate for Governor in Georgia took a deep breath and began by stating, “what we have is a sick care system, because healthy people don’t need health care, but that is another subject.” Metz recently retired from the Health Insurance industry where he had held a Georgia License since 1989. He cites the reason for his departure from the industry being a combination of, “the problems created by Federal government involvement in healthcare and the steadily rising costs, since 1965, when Medicare became law.” In 1965, healthcare was affordable for most people without insurance and total spending on healthcare was 5% of the GDP. But those costs have significantly risen due to Medicare and Federal mandates. On average there has been a 2% annual increase. Furthermore, once the Medicare Prescription Drug Plans went into effect, followed by Advantage Plans and the Affordable Care Act, costs have risen to 20% or more, of household incomes, and 20% of GDP.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans alone added $1 trillion to the National Debt in the first year, and $1 trillion every year since. The ACA created 159 agencies and departments to stand between a person and their doctor. Metz stated that: “millions of people staffing these agencies do nothing to improve level of care or access, they only increase the costs. It took me a couple of years to get through the laws, MIPPA, MMA, ACA, and the revisions to Title XVIII of the Social Security Act before I figured out that what Congress has done over the years was to bend the Constitution to give special privileges to the Healthcare Lobby to feed from the taxpayer trough.”
Metz believes that the solution to most of the problems with healthcare costs could be solved by repealing the exemptions from the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act and the Robinson-Patman Act. These Acts monopolize, restrict free trade, and contribute to price discrimination. They are designed to benefit the industries that make up the healthcare system; particularly drug manufacturers. For example, the Certificate of Needs laws in Georgia prohibit competition that would increase access to care and lower costs overall.
Metz explains that there are alternatives to what we do now, like the direct primary care model, that provide access to doctors for a low monthly fee, which result in better care at greatly reduced costs. There is also the example of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma which charges a set published price for procedures and does not accept insurance. Much of the cost of care these days comes from stifling regulatory compliance and reporting in addition to the claims process imposed by insurance companies. Additionally, there are other avenues for saving such as allowing Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants to prescribe medication for the most common ailments, and greater utilization of Tele-Medicine would also lower costs.
Metz reiterates that the primary problem is over-regulation of healthcare providers coupled with the exemptions from price gouging, price fixing, barriers to competition, and cost shifting. These actions, perpetrated by the corporations that provide the over-grown infrastructure, are what we need to find solutions for. Metz suggests that, “Getting the Federal Government and all of their cronies out of the picture along with judicious use of the Anti-Trust laws will cut healthcare costs by 80%. That is my solution to the healthcare crisis.”