Medical Tourism may offer a Final Option if we can’t Repeal Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 5th, 2013

Week in Review

It’s amazing that as unpopular Obamacare is that we have been thwarted at every attempt to prevent its implementation.  We lost in the Supreme Court.  Some states are now buckling and are building their exchanges.  Basically exhausting all our options to repeal Obamacare.  But there may be another way (see Steve Forbes speaking in Edina: ‘Obamacare will collapse under its own weight’ by Ed Stych posted 5/1/2013 on Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal).

“We will undo it (Obamacare) piece by piece,” Forbes told about 250 people in a speech to the Freedom Club at Interlachen Country Club in Edina. “All of it can be reversed, and we can have lower health care costs through innovation.”

If Obamacare is not repealed, Forbes said he could see American Indian tribes using their limited sovereignty from the federal government to develop medical tourist destinations on their reservations…

Forbes, the CEO of Forbes Inc., spent much of the evening talking about the benefits of free markets and how they can solve the nation’s health care problems. He said those problems stem from the government and insurance companies playing middlemen, leading to a disconnect between health care providers and consumers.

He said health care is one of the few industries where few people know the cost of services…

“Why is demand for health care considered a problem when demand for anything else is considered an opportunity?” Forbes asked. “The problem is that we don’t have free markets in health care.”

This is a good point.  The American Indian tribes opened casinos on their reservations because there was a demand for gambling venues when there were few places to go.  Now every city and state is falling over themselves to legalize gambling.  Which has greatly diluted the earnings of all casinos as supply is outstripping demand.  But Obamacare will create a huge demand for quality health care as Obamacare reduces quality, increases wait-times and rations services in what was once the best health care system in the world.  And the American Indian tribes can be there to meet that demand.

And these hospitals can use free markets and innovation to attract the best doctors and nurses by eliminating the middle man.  The reservation hospitals can even bring in the old health insurers.  But revamp that system so insurance is insurance and not simply welfare.  People will pay out of pocket for most health care needs.  And buy a true insurance policy for unexpected catastrophic health issues.  In this way market forces will keep costs down.  Because the consumers will be making the spending decisions.  Doctors will be able to charge less because they’ll push less paper.  And spend more time with patients.  And people will actually pay before leaving the doctor’s office.  Like they used to.  And it could get even better.

The American Indian tribes could implement a fair and reasonable medical malpractice legal system.  To reduce the amount of frivolous lawsuits with, say, a loser pays requirement.  Thus reducing the cost of a doctor’s medical malpractice insurance.  Allowing them to earn more money while charging less.  Because they will spend less time doing paperwork.  And have lower overhead costs.

The American Indian tribes could reinvent health care, health insurance and tort law.  They could.  Or perhaps we should.  Let’s look at what the American Indian tribes could do because they are free from the long arm of the federal government.  Build the ideal system.  And then reform our systems to become that ideal.  But if we can’t then let’s help the American Indian tribes build it.  For if they do Americans in pursuit of quality health care will come.

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