In watching the political turmoil associated with health care, I’m reminded of how populations fall into bell-shaped curves. Some attribute sorted into some kind of frequency is represented as a distribution having a small population of outliers on either side of a larger population representing the mean.  There are normal distributions and distorted distributions. As you might imagine, the details and nuances require a good bit of coursework to comprehend.

So from between our bare feet on the Lazyboy recliner we can passively view on high definition television the spectacle of a kind of replay of The Empire Strikes Back. We can watch as a small cadre of elite influence workers (lobbyists) practice the art of propaganda upon a group of lazy thinkers. Dick Armey is still with us, but now he is stirring up the muck behind the curtains.

Some have cynically observed that what we are witnessing is one group of dumbshits rattling another group of dumbshits. A more polite description might be that it is a matter of the sly and conniving having their way with the analytically challenged. 

People who are vehemently against big government somehow find it acceptable to be shills for big business in this battle.  All in the name of marketplace economics. But the fact is that the medical industry “marketplace” is deeply distorted and is itself far from being a system that can respond to consumer demand. The supply and demand balance is not sensitive to the needs of the patient- supply and demand is a battle fought between insurance carriers (the economic consumer) and medical organizations (the supplier).  

Consumers of medical services have few real choices- be sick or plug into a complex, gold plated system. In order for the medical system to be a functioning marketplace, there must be lower octane choices for the consumer.

That part of the affluence bell curve that cannot pay for modern, high tech, and expensive health services really must have access to a form of care that they can afford. The health care “debate” should focus on new forms of affordable medical services rather than simply new mechanisms of payment for a system that is economically distorted and inaccesible to significant numbers of people.

Medical school needs to be cheaper so that more universities can train more doctors to feed into the market. This is a supply & demand question that we seem to be unable to even define. The professional and business elitism of medicine must be toned down a bit. It is not sustainable.

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