>>My main thought on healthcare is that the product is often so
complicated that the consumer is unlikely to know what treatment is
needed, the alternatives, and how much it should cost.<<
I feel that way now when I go to the doctor. That's why for a serious problem I would go for a 2nd and 3rd opinion.
My point was mainly one of economics. 3rd parties are basically just "pass through" devices. Premiums, taxes, and debt accumulation are (at least were) raised to meet whatever demand was placed on the 3rd party. So outrageous demands could and were placed on them. The consumer wasn't and still isn't "directly" involved enough with the usual economic choices. This is especially true of government where politics usually comes before economics and sometimes even before the welfare of a misinformed majority.
I think where we might disagree is whether the current problems are really free market based. I think it was interference in the free market that mushroomed an existing problem.
Just to be clear though, I totally understand all the problems the poor and elderly have in getting health care. I also agree that we would have some fraud and corruption no matter which system we used. My experience just tells me that you can address small problems with small solutions. We have had a way of turning small problems into enormous ones by turning them over to government.