<i>The Power of Productivity</i> by William W. Lewis

This 1994 book, subtitled "Wealth, Poverty, and the Threat to Global Stability", surprisingly turns out to be very interesting and entertaining reading, in addition to its substantive content.

This Amazon link can used to see what the book is about, so I'll restrict myself to quoting one of its many rather amazing findings.

The most dramatic difference in treatment is that the average length of stay in a hospital in Japan is twenty-four days, compared with eleven in Germany and six in the United States. ... The reason hospital stays are so long in Japan and so short in the United States is a difference in the regulation of how hospitals are paid for their services. In Japan, hospitals are simply paid a fixed amount for each day a patient stays in the hospital, a "per diem." One Japanese hospital administrator told us "the only reason to release the patient is if you have a new one to admit."
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as compared to the hmo

as compared to the hmo system in the states where a hospital can refuse to treat a patient because it's not profitable enough... like this guy:


Lack of profit is a

Lack of profit is a perfectly reasonable reason to deny someone your services; Nobody should be compelled to labor against their will, whether they are an unskilled day-laborer, or a doctor.

In fact, when people are compelled to provide products or services at a loss, they either try to recoup the costs in other areas of their business, or they stop providing the product or service entirely. Generally when governments try this form of compulsion, usually to reduce the cost of a product or service, it invariably has the opposite effect; it creates shortages.

The article did not address the question of whether the HMO violated its contract with Mr. Herrod to insure him against medical costs. If they did, they comitted an act of fraud and owe him recompense. If not, then, his choices were to:
1) Find someone willing to treat him for a cost he could afford.
2) Persuade the HMO to agree to a change in the contract between them.
3) Raise the funds needed through charity.
4) Borrow the funds he needed.
5) Earn the funds he needed.
6) Treat himself (performing heart sugery on oneself is not a recommended method of treatment :twisted:)
7) Resign himself to his doom.

The option implied by the article, that the HMO should be compelled by force of arms (which is fundamentally what a law is) to provide him with a service that it does not wish to. That is a bad idea which in the end will result in a increase to the cost of medical treatment and a reduction in the ease of getting treated. One can readily show that every attempt at regulating the practive of medicine has had such an effect.

(He executed option 1 by the way)