The Virtue of Playing Leapfrog
[Note to readers: more real estate-related posts to come . . . this is only a temporary departure. Or, if you missed it, check out the (too?) long weekend post discussing the Southwest light rail line, “How Close is Too Close?”]
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While this blog isn’t about health care, and I’m certifiably not a health care expert . . . that doesn’t seem to have stopped any other bloggers from weighing in about it (and I am a health care consumer, so maybe that makes me qualified).
So, here’s my (relatively agnostic) take:
Apparently, the U.S. is the last developed, Western nation that doesn’t provide its citizens with some version of national health care.
In theory, being a laggard could be an advantage.
While Honda and Toyota ceded a huge head start to General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, they also were free to redesign and improve upon Detroit’s business and manufacturing model.
The result: they eventually caught up — and arguably have now left Detroit in the dust.
Another example is computers.
IBM, wedded to mainframes, practically gifted Microsoft the personal computer market.
Today, we talk about Bill Gates’ wealth, not the Watsons’ (the founding family of IBM).
Regulatory Capture (Again)
At least hypothetically, then, the ability to study how every other industrialized country has handled health care, then learn from their mistakes, would seem to be an opportunity.
The problem seems to be wresting control of the decision-making process from the “incumbents”: the insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, etc. who effectively now run and control U.S. health care.
In fact, you could say the same thing about Wall Street and the financial system.
Too often, the regulatory “debate” seems to get short-circuited, because it’s all about who sets the agenda.
As I’ve blogged before, this malady has a formal diagnosis: it’s called ‘regulatory capture.’