I know there are varying opinions on this, so I thought I'd open up the dialog and start with mine. I think we know more than anyone else that there are a lot of problems with health care. A lot of people have no idea how bad it is because the only time they go to the doctor is when they have a simple problem like strep throat. They pay their $25 copay, they get the antibiotic they needed, and they're completely cured within a week. Unless you have a more complicated illness like we have, you'd probably oblivious to all of the incompetence. Among the many problems I've noticed, these are a few worth noting: -Doctors don't crave our business. They don't work hard to keep us satisfied and happy customers in order to keep our loyalty. In fact, have you ever tried to make an appointment with a particular doctor and the receptionist tells you he's not accepting any new patients? A company turning business away? This is ridiculous. Here's an experiment: next time a doctor tells you you really don't have a serious problem and it's all in your head, threaten to take your business elsewhere. See how quickly you get laughed out of the office. Try this at a restaurant and the manager might come out and give you a free meal and apologize. They realize your business is how they make their living. -Doctors get paid pretty much the same amount per patient whether they're a very good & caring doctor who's up-to-date on the latest research, or they're someone who barely got by in medical school and could give a rat's ass about you. This does 2 things: it gives NO incentives to doctors to work hard for their patients, and it sets up a system for where the only way a good doctor can make more is to increase his patient volume. What happens is, all of his patients then suffer because they have to wait 6 weeks to even get in. -Patients do not do comparison shopping among doctors. They don't price shop and they don't have much means for shopping on quality either. Let's face it, most people have no clue how much a doctor actually charges for a visit. Patients know it just costs them $25, and that's all that matters. Keep in mind, that's $25, whether you're going to a good quality doctor or one who shouldn't even be in business. There is barely any price differentiation among doctors because nobody cares, co-pays take care of this for us and we don't even think about it. This whole insurance business actually keeps health care costs elevated. Imagine for a moment that health insurance didn't exist and that everyone paid cash for doctors visits. Doctors would notice a drop in business immediately. People would be more wise about how often they go to the doctor because they see the dollars coming right out of their pocket. Now, this is somewhat bad, because if someone has a problem, they should be going to the doctor. However, what will happen in response is Doctors will be forced to lower their prices in order to keep their businesses sustained. Patients will be a lot more conscious of the prices doctors charge, and in turn be a LOT more conscious of the quality they're receiving. Plus, doctors will be a lot more competitive. And when doctors compete, the patients win. New doctors just opening their practice will have very low prices in order to build a patient base. This will have a lowering effect on the rest of the market. The way good and bad doctors get equal pay right now is ridiculous. Good doctors should be rewarded for their efforts, and bad doctors better be getting their act together, lowering their prices, or be forced to go out of business. Just like any market you'd have different price and quality points, as well as different niches. People would be able to compare, and that would force doctors to get their act together because it would be much more apparent that their livelihoods depend on our business. Now, when people start talking about socialized healthcare, I don't see that as a solution to our problems, but I see that as making our problems much much worse. We need to get back to giving power to the patient, giving options in the market place. We need doctors to be held accountable and we need to be demanding as hell, given the amounts they charge us. Imagine if it was all free (not really free, EVERYONE would pay). Just how demanding can you be when you're getting a service you didn't even pay for? Just how much does the doctor care about you when his business depends more on government money than it does you? If you had a serious problem you needed to take care of and were willing to put part of your life savings towards it, shouldn't you have that option? Or would you rather wait in line along with everyone else for sub par medical care. Competition creates innovation, lackthereof curtails it. I find it really interesting that the same people who think our government is ineffective at running this country are often times the same people who think the government should be running healthcare. Comments welcome!