Issue: Health Care
Everyone can see we have a problem with health care. In some ways, America's health care industry is the envy of the world, leading in technology and with some of the best facilities anywhere. At the same time, costs are soaring, making even basic services unaffordable to some and a significant burden on others -- and on our country as a whole. As Warren Buffett has often commented, it's become like a "tapeworm" on our economy.
The advances are coming from the work of our biotechnology and other high-tech companies (many of them right here in Silicon Valley), the researchers at our universities, and of course the many dedicated and skilled health care practitioners. But the benefit of these advances is being held back by the way health care services are managed, delivered, and paid for.
Some say this is a failure of the free market, and call for more government involvement. But we do not currently have a free market in health care. This is one of the most heavily regulated industries in our entire economy! Almost everybody in the United States has their health care paid for either directly through a government program or through insurance programs that have their current form because of regulation, subsidies, and tax policies. At the same time, government policies limit the supply of medical professionals, and drive up the cost of equipment and drugs. And individuals are powerless to control any of this, because they don't even understand what they are paying. Yes, it's a complicated mess that needs to swept away. But "single payer" or "Medicare for All" isn't the answer -- and in the long run would make things even worse.
The right answer is to get the government out of the way so that the basic economic principles that have led to lower costs in almost every other industry are allowed to function.