Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Matt's Missed Mark

Sometimes I despair of the modern media. Case in point, Matthew Yglesias and his inane take on a recent Time article on the cost of health care. As co-blogger Nate pointed out, the magazine got almost everything wrong. But that doesn't stop the illustrious Mr Yglesias from piling on, only adding to the torrent of misinformation.

To wit:

"Time’s long investigation of American health care prices missed one thing: We pay our doctors way too much."

Really, Matt? That's what Brill missed?

First, though, it's only fair to point out that Mr Y acknowledges one rather obvious elephant in the room, one that the press routinely ignores:

"[T]he best deal of all goes to the biggest insurer around: the federal government"

This simple statement goes a long way towards explaining how programs like Medicare and Medicaid distort the cost of health care for the rest of us.

Even a blind squirrel...

Unfortunately, that's the  last time he makes sense. Consider this example of his craft:

"America has the highest-paid general practitioners in the world. And our specialists make more than specialists in every other country except the Netherlands."

So. What?

Hey Matt, ever hear of tort law? Malpractice insurance? RAC's?

In fact, our own Kelley Beloff destroyed this myth almost three years ago:

"Government has mandated that all physicians implement an Electronic Medical Records system by 2014 or face punishments ... Government has mandated that all physicians must have on staff a certified coder by 2012 or face punishment ... Any efficient medical office needs three staff members to every provider."

And the list goes on. Hey Matt, who do you think pays for all that?

But this barely hidden gem is the real prize of his vapid little excercise:

"If doctors earned less money, fewer people would want to be doctors"

Wow, Matt, that's some brilliant, almost Krugmanesque economic and financial insight there. Good thing we have a glut of practitioners to handle the influx of all those newly insured folks thanks to The ObamaTax.

Wait, what?

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]
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