Simple Fixes for Simple Problems

Focus: MARKETS

Steve Forbes Image Steve Forbes Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Media

The health-care bill and Dodd-Frank are indescribably complex…and it doesn't need to be this way, says Steve Forbes, who outlines a few simple, decisive steps officials can take now.

What kind of specific reforms could we see in…health care, for example? You’ve actually laid out some interesting ideas.

Well the key thing in health care is to get real free markets.

What we have is a crazy hybrid system today, where we have pieces of it that are free market—which is why we still produce more new drugs and more new medical devices than the rest of the world put together. But a lot of it is infected with a system where you have a disconnect between providers and consumers.

You know, in any other part of the economy, people want more of something and entrepreneurs come forward and fill the need—and do so in better and better ways. It has not been this way in health care because of the crazy way we finance it, which is third party. So, you get a disconnect, and so we’ve got to change that.

There are several positive things we can do at the start:

  • Have nationwide shopping for health insurance, get real competition, with hundreds of companies competing for your business. That will induce not only productivity and better pricing among the insurers, but also create market pressures to do better things in terms of delivery of health care, more and more efficient ways to do it, positive ways to do it.
  • And at the same time, tort reform.

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