That is what readers of his column today on the Supreme Court's health care ruling would learn. Brooks sort of praised the restraint the court exercised in not overturning the ACA. He then went on to list the inefficiencies in the health care system that the ACA did not fix. Brooks mentions the malpractice system, fee for service care, and the government subsidy for employer provided care.
Brooks probably does not know anything about the ACA, since it is likely to substantially reduce employer provided care over time according to most analyses. More importantly, Brooks somehow overlooks the inefficiencies in the system that have the effect of giving more money to rich people and leading to poorer quality care.
At the top of the list is patent protection for prescription drugs. These government granted monopolies raise the price of drugs by around $270 billion a year above their free market price. This is roughly five times the size of the cost of the Bush tax cuts to the rich. Patent monopolies also encourage drug companies to mislead doctors and patients about the merits of their drugs, leading to poorer quality care.
A second item that Brooks somehow missed is the inefficiency of the insurance industry, which is left in tack by the ACA. We waste between 10-15 percent of our health care spending ($250-$375 billion a year) on unnecessary administrative costs as a result of our system of private insurers, as opposed to a public Medicare type program. Of course top executives at the insurers do very well with this system.
The third obvious source of waste that Brooks failed to catch was the excess pay for our doctors, especially highly paid specialists. If the pay for our doctors was comparable to the pay of doctors in Germany or Canada it would save us around $100 billion a year, or roughly two Bush tax cuts for the rich.
It is striking that Brooks has such difficulties noticing inefficiencies in the health care system that redistribute income to the rich.
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