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Market Can't Fix Health-Care System


Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith, professor of geriatrics at Florida State University College of Medicine,  offers a reply in a column printed at to those who urge free-market shopping as the answer to high costs in health care. Brummel-Smith writes that it is fine for Lasix or cosmetic surgery, but not so great when having a heart attack.

He says only a small percentage of patients are responsible for most of the costs, and those patients are usually too physically or mentally ill to do the kind of shopping around for health care that enthusiasts for free markets are pushing.

He offers five steps the United States could take to raise quality and lower costs, starting with ousting private health insurance companies -- which he says are an unnecessary expense -- and set up a single-payer Medicare-for-all system.