A couple blocks down the road you notice that the steering pulls to the left, there's quite a lot of black smoke coming out of the tail pipes, and the transmission is making an odd grinding sound every time you shift gears. You are wondering if you are going to actually make it all the way to the corner store, much less all the way across town to your job on Monday morning. What to do?
Go read Dean Baker's analysis of the U.S. health care system. I think you'll agree that the analogy is apt, and the solution is clear.
A couple excerpts to steer you in the right direction:
... Getting universal Medicare would require overcoming opposition not only from insurers and drug companies, but doctors and hospital administrators, both of whom are paid at levels two to three times higher than their counterparts in other wealthy countries. There would also be opposition from a massive web of health-related industries, including everything from manufacturers of medical equipment and diagnostic tools to pharmacy benefit managers who survive by intermediating between insurers and drug companies.And then he says:
... in the case of prescription drugs, economists seem content to ignore the patent monopolies granted to the industry, which allow it to charge prices that are often ten or even a hundred times the free market price. (The hepatitis C drug Sovaldi has a list price in the United States of $84,000. High quality generic versions are available in India for a few hundred dollars per treatment.) In this case, we are effectively looking at a tariff that is not the 10-20 percent that we might see in trade policy, but rather 1,000 percent or even 10,000 percent.
In this context, Bernie Sanders’ push for universal Medicare can play an important role in energizing the public and keeping the pressure on.Baker also asserts that "Krugman is largely right" in backing Hillary Clinton's incremental approach to fixing what ails the health care system, but he offers no explanation of that seeming contradiction to the evidence he has presented.
The article's analysis of a broken down system is still excellent in spite of that one inexplicable contradiction. Perhaps Baker will sort out the issues better in subsequent installments. In the meantime, it stll looks to me like the only practical way out of the dilemma is to dump that old Cadillac.