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The Real Reason For Hospital Shortages In The United States

by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

An article published by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Wednesday showed the United States ranked eleventh in the world in per capita distribution of hospitals.  That article pointed out that the United States had a “lower hospital density than almost all comparable countries.” 

Predictably, there are a slew of other hospital-related resources in which the United States is lacking, including the number of hospital-employed nurses and the number of physicians.  Although the Kaiser article does not detail the cause of these shortages, I do so in my new book, The Case for Free Market Healthcare.  

The reason is actually quite simple and predictable: government intervention.  

Although the details of the dynamics are too extensive to cover in this forum (I therefore urge you to explore them further in The Case for Free Market Healthcare), there are a few observations that can be gleaned regarding the degree of error with which we have approached healthcare delivery in our country.  

First, government has been openly hostile to hospitals, particularly private hospitals, viewing them mostly as vehicles for greedy investors to make money off the sick and the poor.  This hostile and destructive attitude led to the passage of the Health Planning Resources Development Act in 1974 that actually rewarded states for implementing “certificate of need” (CON) programs to restrict the abilities of entrepreneurs to build hospitals.  

Within a few years, forty-nine states enacted CON laws, and their models for governmental interference have since been shown not to lower prices for inpatient services and not improve hospital financial investment in communities as had been touted by the bill’s advocates.  

But the damage still persists. To this day, despite the certificate of need program’s total failure, only thirteen states have rescinded it demonstrating the difficulty of undoing misguided legislation after it has been passed.  

Government also has and continues to manipulate the market in ways that have destroyed projects aimed at improving the availability of hospital emergency rooms.  In 2018, the Medicare Payment Advisory Board advised Congress to cut reimbursements to freestanding emergency rooms operating within 6 miles of their parent hospitals by 30%.  Why? Because, according to MedPAC, “such systems would encourage providers to treat lower intensity rooms rather than urgent care centers.” Which begs the question: what business is it of Medicare, an insurance company for seniors and the disabled, where the market decides that it is more efficient to treat urgent and emergent patients?

As a result of MedPAC’s misguided market manipulations, over 250 shovel-ready or unfinished projects were canned, robbing America of greater healthcare access — and a lot more beds to deal with today’s crisis.

To be sure, the federal government has also engaged in a wide variety of activities that favor hospitals over other models, but in each of unnatural interventions, the consequences are the same:  government continues to impose delivery models upon the population and with it, its bias of how healthcare is provided to the consumer.  

As a result, the market is not free to respond to consumer demands and cost-saving opportunities in an efficient manner.  Thus, we are never given the opportunity to develop the right number of hospitals and the correct number of physicians, nurses, physical therapists. . .you get the point.  

Now, we are faced with the challenges of a pandemic where many, including President Trump, have observed that we were not ready with a coordinated response mechanism.  In point of fact, we weren’t even ready with a baseline set of operating resources with which to handle the larger numbers that would present themselves, and the blame lies squarely on government for attempting to impose upon us its ideas of what those numbers should be, instead of allowing the market to settle upon them by itself.

If it had allowed the market to freely operate, we would have more hospital capacity, more medical personnel and more supplies. 

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and The Case for Free Market Healthcare.  He can be reached through http://www.thefederalistpages.com/contact.html or at [email protected]


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3 replies on “The Real Reason For Hospital Shortages In The United States”

Black background and white letters (links in red) is superhard to see. I understand the desire to be different, but this doesn’t cut it. From what I could glean, the article is excellent. Admittedly I am in my seventies and my eyesight isn’t perfect.

This entire “Pandemic” is a scam. Everyday we are told about “confirmed cases” yet we are also told there are no testing kits en masse. We have transferred trillions of dollars to this government yet with all the preparations since 9/11, new departments of taking away your rights etc. this government cannot provide a box of face masks for every man woman and child in this country? Where has all the money gone that we sent to DC for decades??? Folks we are being ripped off and the latest, greatest rip-off is happening NOW. They are Ordering you to stay home and become poor. The same people who are violating our Constitution are MAKING MONEY. Notice how all the folks telling you to stay home are not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing at these press briefings? Hec, even the reporters do not have mask and gloves on. They will get their paychecks and all they can steal this Friday like EVERY Friday. I mean, this is crazy. In my family 6 of seven kids are out of work, their wives and husbands too. Prior to this great lie everyone was building a solid financial life and looking forward to the future, contributing to our strong economy and then this? And most of our friends too and for WHAT? Not passing the smell test in a thousand years! We are to believe the same B S spewed by the same Media that has been lying to us for decades??? Wake up America! This government is stealing your wealth!!!!!! You worked hard for it and they are stealing it with their words, nothing else.
Solution? Go to work, open up businesses again, practice good hygiene, defy these humans who have zero authority over you! Overwhelm them with resolve that we stand united and stealing from us is finished ONCE AND FOR ALL!

While it’s true, the government needs to stay out of the free market and do their job that is to see that all states are operating within the guide lines of our Constitution, Bill of Rights, Rule of Law, Maintain our Sovereignty, and our Freedoms, write laws to protect this society while keeping us free. I believe this pandemic was not merely a coincidence and was a plot by the globalists to create a chaotic atmosphere where Trump would finally be relieved of office for the next 4 years. The demoncrats along with the rinos have continually sought to remove this president since he was legally voted into office.

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