Our guest today, Peter Ferrara, is Senior Fellow, Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Heartland Institute and author “The Obamacare Disaster.” On today’s program, Ferrara discusses the fundamental problem in our health care system today that makes the system so terribly costly: a third party payment system in which the consumer of care, the patient, does not have concern for the cost of care. Ferrara further discusses his view of the problems with the legislation that was supposed to address our health care system woes, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, what he calls “Obamacare.” And he talks about the constitutionality of the Act and efforts to reverse it in the Supreme Court.
While problems with our health care system are generally recognized, the health care system has a lot of strengths, too. Our current health care system gives many, many people great medical care, though quality could be improved and costs could certainly be reduced. While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act works to get people insured, Ferrara is correct that it doesn’t directly reduce the cost of care, the major problem with our current system. At some point, someone needs to take responsibility for bringing the costs under control. For better or worse, we are now on a path in which the government regulators will do that. The alternative is for us to have a system in which individuals take greater responsibility for the cost and decision-making in their own healthcare, something that greater use of health savings accounts and catastrophic insurance would do and which would save money. Neither of these approaches are “disasters”; both have their advantages and disadvantages. One gives the government more control over health care decisions, which few want to see happen, but the other requires individuals to take more personal responsibility. Are we ready for that?