Originally Posted by Taco John
You understand that demand interacts with supply, no? Your question doesn't seem to understand that. To answer the question, that would depend on the supply and the supplier. In this case it appears that as demand is increasing, supply is decreasing - which means higher prices.
Personally, I think we'll get to a place where we see more doctors refusing to accept insurance
and dealing with patients on a cash only basis.
At this point, I expect the government to move to "increase supply" in order to control costs and meet the needs of the market. What happens after that depends on how the physicians react.
The wrench in your supply and demand theory as it relates to medicine is that there is a third party involved that regulates prices allowed by the "supplier" (insurance) and another regulatory influence (government) that effects the cost of business for the supplier (hippa, osha). These factors don't apply to most industries, and the algorhythms that would be required to figure out supply and demand based economies of medicine are impossible.
I wish it were as simple as a doctor charges so much for an office visit, the patient pays it, and everyone is happy due to supply and demand setting the fee for said office visit. Unfortunately, the doctor has to order extra tests because the patient is a smoking fatass with diabetes, and if the doctor doesn't cover every base possible, the insurance won't pay him a cent. On top of that, the patients family will sue the doctor when the patient loses foot due to diabetes from an infection.
Bottom line is this. Despite the fact that many people think the doctor is a wealthy money grabber, the truth is, the doctors are trying to help their patients, but most of them (just look around at people these days) are out of shape, don't eat well, and do things that they know will hurt them. Meanwhile, the amount of money that the insurance pays the doctor to treat these patients has gone down steadily for years.
I get reimbursed less for a crown today than I got in 2002. Imagine if everything else cost less than it did in 2002.
The medical professions are taking it in the shorts, have been for over a decade, and will continue to do so as long as big Pharm and insurance continue to rule the game.