Universal Healthcare?, never mind

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Roberts said she was confident that any other mistakes in operating endoscopic equipment at other VA facilities were corrected during the review. The VA has attributed the mistakes to human error.

The review of all VA medical centers and outpatient clinics followed reports in February that the department discovered "improperly reprocessed" endoscopic equipment used for colonoscopies in Murfreesboro and ear, nose and throat exams in Augusta, Ga.

According to a VA e-mail, only about half of the Murfreesboro and Augusta patients notified by letter of a mistake that exposed them to "potentially infectious fluids" have requested appointments for follow-up blood tests offered by the department.

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The problem with the current

The problem with the current system is not that we have a free market in healthcare, but that our market is far from free. The incentive systems are all screwed up. Patients have to go with the insurer that their employer mandates, regardless of how they are treated. Insurers try their best to avoid paying for medical procedures, but it's doctors who are harmed by this, not the patient. Doctors try to do as many procedures as possible, but it's the patient, not the insurer, that takes the fall.

Basically, you have the patient, the insurer, and the doctor. In every combination, A gets to decide how much B screws over C, rather than having his actions feed back on himself. No wonder the market is screwed up.

One way to fix this would be to have doctors bill by time, not procedure, and have insurance be an after-the-fact reimbursement of a percentage of the costs. If a doctor does too many procedures, they eat the costs and the patients go elsewhere. If the insurer fails to pay up on time, the patient picks another insurer. THAT's the way the free market is supposed to work.