How the market can cure the healthcare crisis, with Dr. Keith Smith

­Welcome to Capital Account. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney raised eyebrows yesterday when he said he would “not get rid of all of healthcare reform.” Romney’s statement made headlines because it was a flip-flop from his previous rhetoric of “repealing Obamacare.” Will politicians ever explain the real reasons why a trip to the ER for a headache can amount to a $10,000 bill? Could it be that healthcare isn't actually that expensive?

Over the years, healthcare costs in the US have increased from five percent of GDP in the 1960s to 17.4 percent in 2009, a 2011 OECD report revealed. And a recent report from the Institute of Medicine estimated $765 billion in systemic waste in the US healthcare system, amounting to 30 percent of total healthcare expenditures. We ask Dr. Keith Smith, Managing Partner and Medical Director for the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, about the role of insurance companies, wasteful administrative costs and hospital inefficiencies.

Dr. Smith runs an independent surgical clinic that charges competitive, free market-rates for treatment. He offers customers lower prices than traditional healthcare, and patients fly in from all over the world – even from countries with universal healthcare systems – to receive surgery at his center.

And in today's ‘Loose Change,’ Lauren and Demetri discuss former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman’s recent appearance on CNBC, where he said that “Ron Paul is the only one who is right about the Fed, and the Fed is the heart of the problem.” Indeed!

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