Indiana has been battling the federal government over Medicaid because the state does not want to spend more money on Medicaid patients. Therefore, the governor is willing to allow 300,000 Hoosiers to go without medical insurance in order to sustain a fiction. That fiction is that people, especially the poor, can shop for low priced medical insurance and services.
This is preposterous. When medical necessity arises, people will seek whatever help they can. Price is not the issue. But preventative medical attention is very price sensitive, and we cannot expect to find the poor as willing to participate in preventative care as will the well-heeled of the governor’s fantasy.
When it comes to health care, we are not dealing with a service comparable to others in the market place. Consumers of health care cannot be compared to consumers of auto oil changes. There is a market where one can shop around or even make it a do-it-yourself task. Open heart surgery is not a do-it-yourself project for a Saturday afternoon.
Morton J. Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.He can be reached at email@example.com.