One thing that most people don’t understand is that part of the reason our present health care system costs so much is because we lack the freedom to make choices for ourselves. Doubt this? “Google” GoodRx. GoodRx gives you the prices charged by drugstores for various medications. You will note that these prices vary both by the drugstore and according to the type of medicine you are purchasing with your doctor’s prescription. Take for example of the cost of insulin for diabetics. The cost effectively varies from about $1000 a year (Novolin 70-30 at $25 a vial) to about twelve times ($12,000 for 40 vials of Humalog or Lantus). There is some variation among insulins, but they all reduce blood sugar for diabetics. Of course for those with health insurance, the insurance company will “pick up” some of the cost, with the rest being up to you to pay. Obviously controlling your blood sugar can result in considerable savings, especially for those dependent upon insulin. As diabetes is caused (type two) by excessive consumption of carbohydrates, it makes sense to do what you can to avoid becoming diabetic in the first place… At least dependent upon insulin to control excess blood sugar.
The type of insulin the doctor will prescribe for you of course makes a big difference in costs. Unfortunately doctors do not usually consider “cost” as their first priority, and getting a doctor to start with the lowest cost and work up from there can be a problem. Part of the problem here is that the drug companies would “prefer” that your doctor only prescribe “brand name” medicines since these are what the drug companies make the most profit off. The doctor may “justify” to himself (or herself) that the drug prescribed is “better” than any of the lower cost generics available. Or simply figure you can “afford” it.
The real problem here is prescription laws that give your doctor a legal government enforced monopoly over access to medical drugs. Without these laws patients would likely decide for themselves how much they feel is worthwhile to pay more for medicine. This is one of the major advantages of life in a libertarian society over the “statist” society we now live in. Effectively, when you are allowed to make these decisions, your own decisions will be different in many cases from what your doctor is likely to suggest. It should be understood that with few exceptions, people generally prefer to make more than less money, even if the individual seeking their services would prefer to spend as little as possible. Of course someone with “first rate” employer paid health insurance is less likely to care because the cost of the more expensive medicine is coming out of his employer’s pocket, not his. Such a person is also much more likely to “go along” with whatever his or her doctor recommends than someone who has to watch every penny!
What about the insurance company? Do they care what the doctor prescribes? Not all that likely as they can “recover” the additional cost through higher premiums in most cases. So insurance companies really don’t worry that much about the cost of medical care. This is especially true today with Obamacare where people are forced to purchase health insurance (from a private provider in most cases) or pay a “fine” to the IRS. Too, as with prescription laws you are “stuck” with what the doctor prescribes, you really do not have that much of a choice in the matter. You may be able to switch doctors, but for the most part, thanks to their professional organization, the AMA, you are dealing with people who for all practical purposes are as “unionized” as any labor union member is!*
*This is why the members of the “licensed professions and occupations” earn the money that they do. They have the power of “government” standing behind them, which gives them the power to extort more money from people than they could without government.
This is why as I have pointed out in previous posts, that “breaking the power” of the organized licensed professions and occupations would result in savings of over a trillion dollars a year if not more. Without the power of government behind them, they would have to “compete” in the free market like anyone else, which historically has always been one of the best ways to hold down the cost of goods and services to the general public. It would be necessary that people “educate” themselves about these things, but this isn’t all that difficult to anyone who is willing to take the time to “educate” themselves about these issues. Not much different than educating yourself to obtain a better position and income. Yes, it would take “time”, but the money you could save would certainly be worth it…
You will note in all this that neither of our two major political parties is willing to support anything like this. Most likely because a large number of elected officials are in fact members of the licensed professions and occupations. Who naturally watch out for the interests of their own group. And oppose any idea that might reduce the incomes of their “group”. So we have a group of people, generally upper middle class and above, who are the ones regulating what we do. The laws that we are forced to obey. Unfortunately many of our own libertarian candidates have come from these groups, which is one very good reason (as I’ve discovered) that libertarian organization appear to have little if any interest in resolving these problems. One group which I corresponded with considered the “legalization” of marijuana to be of greater benefit than the repeal of prescription laws! So we have libertarians who believe it is more important that people are allowed to smoke or otherwise consume marijuana than it is to repeal laws that add hundreds of billions of dollars to our health care costs!