September 28, 2006
Experts urge consumer choice in health care
Consumer-driven health care is the answer to growing costs both in public and private-sector health care, a series of experts agreed at a recent forum on the topic.
The September 26 forum, hosted by the Manhattan Institute’s Empire Center for New York State policy, featured experts from across the country in the public and private sectors who spoke about what can be done to curb rising health-care costs in Medicaid and private health insurance.
The forum’s keynote address was given by David Gratzer, MD, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress and author of the upcoming book “The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care.”
Gratzer, a native Canadian whose first book on the Canadian single-payor system is now in its fifth printing, assured the audience that a Canadian-like was not the solution for America’s health-care.
The single-payor system is like the old Soviet joke, Gratzer said: “Everything is free, it’s just that nothing is really available.”
“There is something fundamentally flawed in a government-run and managed health-care system,” Gratzer said. The key to lowering healthcare costs is to look at what work in other sectors of the economy: “deregulation, private choice, and competition.”
The current system needs change, Gratzer said. “It produces high-cost, low-satisfaction health care and Americans deserve better.” Empowering consumers to make better health-care choices will introduce market competition and lower prices.
To do that, health care has to get back to “covering unforeseen events,” Gratzer said. Right now, the system is expensive in part because insurance covers everything.
“What would car insurance [cost] if it covered everything?” Gratzer asked.
Other speakers at the forum included:
- Michael Bond, director of the Center for Health Care Policy
at the James Madison Institute.
- Stephen Moses, president of the Center for Long Term Care Reform.
- Gayle Harrell, a member of the Florida House of Representatives
and the chair of that body’s Health Care General Committee.
- Greg Scandlen, president of Consumers for Health Care Choices.
- J.P. Wieske, state affairs director for the Council on Affordable
- Amy Lischkow, director of health care, finance and policy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The speakers power-point presentations are available online at
Streaming video of the forum will be available online within a few