Medicine in American is fraught with moral hazard. People in this country have been conditioned to believe all medical care is free or can be bought for pennies on the dollar, and now, thanks to Obamacare, many think it’s their right. Part of this fallacy stems from a comprehensive medical insurance industry. Eye, dental, hearing, office visitations, marriage, and psychiatric counseling, the insurance industry is expected to be all encompassing providing every aspect of medical coverage. No other facet of the insurance industry even comes close. For example, when you take out a comprehensive automobile policy, that policy doesn’t cover oil changes, nor does it pay for a flat tire; everything from windshield wiper fluid to automotive diagnostics are out of pocket expenses.
This pernicious, one size fits all, comprehensive entitlement mentality has been exacerbated by the government at both the state and federal level. For example, some states mandate insurance companies offer in-vitro fertilization. This expensive, seldom utilized option is just one example why health insurance is not portable on a state to state basis. It is one example why some states have so few insurance providers; most companies can’t afford the extraneous regulations imposed at the state level. At the federal level, Medicare and Medicaid hoists a constellation of regulations upon the health care industry crippling what should be a market driven industry. Obamacare doubles down on the mandated services insurance companies will have to provide to stay in business.
Plastic surgery, Gastric bypass surgery, hair transplants, the sky is the limit, proof of citizenship be dammed. Here in lies the moral hazard; if everything is comprehensive, if everything is free or of little cost to the consumer, why not have two of everything?
This morally hazardous behavior manifests itself in hospitals across America every day. People with means and those with no means at all; walk into Emergency Rooms for a soar throat or a toothache. They call 911 dispatching an ambulance to take them to the hospital because they have “pain”. Then upon discharge they expect the ambulance to take them back home.
The majority of patients seen in an acute care setting are there because off afflictions associated with risky behavior. Alcohol, tobacco, and drug, related illness is a common denominator. Many are there because they have eaten themselves to the brink of death and now are so morbidly obese they can no longer breathe and have co-morbidity system failures. And their layman solutions for their afflictions are frequently the same: “Gee, had I known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.” “Hey, can’t I just take a pill for this?” or “Why can’t Johnny just get a liver transplant like everyone else?” “Yes, I understand the meaning of the word malignant, but when can I have a cigarette?” Unfortunately, these individuals are viewed as victims of their own risky behaviors. Personal responsibility plays no role in this medical model (with one exception) the personally responsible are on the hook to pay for the morally hazardous behaviors of others.
All moral hazard is the causation of government meddling in the market place. Make no mistake, under Obamacare this problem will only balloon exponentially, same as the burgeoning bureaucracy created to implement this massive comprehensive entitlement.