By Jason Marks

Year in and year out, healthcare costs go up faster than the rate of inflation. This year, we will spend more than $2.5 trillion on healthcare in the U.S., which is over $8,100 per person. Even at that, more than 35 million of our fellow citizens are left without regular healthcare coverage through insurance or a government program.

Health insurers serve as a convenient target, getting criticized for denying care to those that need it most, creating too much red-tape for doctors and other providers, and for diverting too much of our insurance dollars to administrative overhead, profits, executive compensation, and lobbying. But since most insurers pay out 75 to 85 percent of premium dollars in medical reimbursements, the direct savings from taking them entirely out of the system is no more than 25 percent.

If like me, you are concerned not just with the availability and quality of healthcare, but also its affordability, then it is important to understand that we have to look beyond insurance reform and coverage mandates. We must also look also at our healthcare industries, by which I mean doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and so forth. Most importantly, we have to look at -- and fundamentally change -- the current dynamic in which employers, insurers, healthcare providers, and last (and sometimes least) patients come together to deliver and pay for our medical care.

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