Innovation, Not Regulation, is Key to Improving the Healthcare System

May 15, 2014

Both sides of the healthcare debate are mired in political entropy, stifling innovation and leaving no options other than to cut prices.

Innovation will have great sway over your personal future.

In nature, innovation has two faces. It is natural selection, where adaptation and innovation support continuation of genetic lines. It is also the elimination of the weak.

In government, innovation is often discouraged because of entrenched institutions that are too powerful to overcome.

Obamacare has vision, but it tries to fix a broken delivery system the wrong way: through insurance reform. The approach is kind of like trying to pay to fix a common engine problem in your car by replacing payment by credit card with payment by a debit card that is subsidized if you can’t afford the repairs.

The Republican solution protects choice, adds technical complexity, and lets the market sort it out.

Both regulate instead of enable. Both favor the status quo and its increasing complexity over innovation that can bring positive change.

Sadly, both impede non-big corporation innovators in the technology, genetics, pharmacology, and, in particular, organizers seeking to put physicians in the lead of healthcare delivery services, who are, by nature, new, small, underfunded, and vulnerable. Instead, they favor established institutions with size, resources, influence, and a status quo to protect.

Here is a great illustration:

In the heat of the space race, when faced with the challenge of writing in microgravity, we Americans, with our overwhelming resources, bureaucracy, and industrial prowess, spent two years and tens of millions of dollars inventing a pen that would write upside down.

The Russians, faced with the same problem, underfunded and inventive, used a pencil.

Our government, on both sides of the aisle, wrongly applies its might and resources to build the healthcare equivalent of a pen that writes upside down.

It would take so little to give the folks with pencils some support and a shot at initiating real innovation.

It would be tax dollars well invested.