Short Answer: Commies and Lawyers.
(1) No free market competition. Doctors have their fees set by insurance companies and Medicare, so they can’t advertise low prices. Liberals love this situation because it’s the only area of society that’s completely egalitarian. Rich people have to wait in the same waiting room from as poor people, and receive the same lousy health care from the same doctor.
(2) Bureaucratic medical billing. Each doctor has to hire people to submit his bills to the insurance companies, who have their own people who look for reasons to reject the claims. All this extra labor costs lots of money.
(3) Malpractice insurance. Some doctors have to pay more than $100,000/year for malpractice insurance, and I’ve heard that obstetricians in litigious states are paying for then $200,000/year. These costs are passed on to consumers. Fear of malpractice suits is also believed to cause doctors to order unnecessary tests a practice known as defensive medicine.
(4) Drug company advertising. I estimated from examining Pfizer’s public financial statements that twice as much money is spent on advertising and on commissions paid to salespeople than is spent on actual drug research.
As with doctors, there is no free market competition. If people had to pay for their own drugs, and they could choose themselves between the $100 drug and the slightly inferior $10 drug, most people would buy the $10 drug, unless they were rich.
Drug companies, under the current scheme have no incentive to lower prices. The best way for them to maximize profits is high prices combined with very expensive marketing campaigns.
(5) The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986. This is one of the most evil laws ever passed by Congress. All medical facilities are required, under severe penalty for noncompliance, to provide emergency care regardless of ability to pay. However, it’s an unfunded mandate. The government requires medical facilities to give away free services, but doesn’t reimburse them for the free services. Instead, they pass on the costs to paying customers.
(6) No triage. If a poor person has a kid with a cough, I don’t see any reason why a nurse with a bachelor’s degree can’t handle this simple problem, without requiring a much more highly paid doctor to get involved. Liberals, of course, hate the idea that poor people get less healthcare than rich people.
And because Dear Leader and the Dimwit Congress only know of one way to deal with a problem… spend more money and regulate it more… free market solutions are not in the offing.
Imagine, if you would, a system of retail medicine. If you have a cold or the flu, or you want to get a flu shot… anything routine like that… you would go to a CVS/Pharmacy-type retail medicine outlet, be treated and prescribed medicine on the spot. You would have free choice to buy an insurance policy… with no regulatory mandates… to cover more serious needs. Government provides vouchers to poor people and offers subsidized catastrophic insurance for those who buy into it. Malpractice damages are capped at $500,000 and socialized… the awards go into a health care pool to cover the indigent, not to the lawyers who file the suits.
Much better than the Socialist dream of DMV-style “health care” for all.