Commentary

Can the Government Make Doctors Better Doctors?


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You can take this to the bank. Every innovation in the production of every good or service—anything that lowers costs or increases quality—originates on the supply side of the market.

This principle applies to health care in spades. For as long as I have been in health policy—more than 30 years—I have been dealing with non-doctors who have a deep, abiding desire to tell doctors what to do. Yet I don’t know of any example anywhere in the world where this approach has ever worked.

If the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and each time expecting a different result then “insanity” is the appropriate word here. The Obama administration has spent millions of dollars on pilot programs and demonstration projects in a fruitless attempt to discover how to better practice medicine. It has spent millions more trying to herd Medicare patients into Accountable Care Organizations—super HMOs with financial incentives to hit quality measures. That hasn’t worked either.

So what does the Obama Administration propose to do about all of this? More of the same.

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John C. Goodman is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, President of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, and author of the widely acclaimed Independent books, A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, and the award-winning, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”


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A BETTER CHOICE: Healthcare Solutions for America
Obamacare remains highly controversial and faces ongoing legal and political challenges. Polls show that by a large margin Americans remain opposed to the healthcare law and seek to “repeal and replace” it. However, the question is: Replace it with what?