Breaking Out of the Fortress & Into the Frontier

What is the ultimate goal of health care reform? Is it to provide all Americans with insurance cards? Or is it to enhance access to quality care at more affordable prices? Debates over health care are notorious for their singular focus on the former, but a new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University presents a different approach.

Robert Graboyes from Mercatus identifies two sharply contrasting health care visions: the fortress and the frontier.

In the fortress, doctors, hospitals, insurers, and medical manufactures are shielded from competition and granted unique regulatory protections. The fortress—which epitomizes America’s current health care system—stifles innovation, drives up costs, and erects barriers for the most vulnerable to access quality care.  

Alternatively, on the frontier, it is understood that high-quality health care requires multiple providers taking risks and competing to offer dynamic new services, medicines, and technologies—all at lower prices. The frontier encourages a spirit of entrepreneurialism that is markedly absent in many of today’s health care markets.

The relevant question is, “How soon will the health care industry experience the dramatic transformations already seen in the modern information technology industry?” In a Frontier world, many of these innovations … could become commonplace within the next five or ten years. In a Fortress world, however, they may take a generation or more.

We must break out of the fortress and advance into the frontier. Take a look at this video from the Mercatus Center that further explains how innovation can save health care.