Surgery Center of Oklahoma Blog

August 24, 2011

Fraud, Corruption and Free Markets

Filed under: Uncategorized — surgerycenterok @ 4:01 pm

Public schools’ standardized test data and scores are deleted/changed for no apparent reason.  Schools that were targeted by this data and subsequently punished in some way are now off the hook.  Algebra scores were completely deleted or not included in the report.

New parking meters destined to adorn the streets of downtown Oklahoma City are found out to be notoriously unreliable.  The biggest problem with them is that they exhibit “expired” before they are supposed to.

Does anyone smell a rat?  Could money have changed hands in either of the above situations?  Of course it could have.  What?  You don’t think that someone in local government would do this?

A scooter company faces fraud charges for not delivering scooters that the government paid for or for delivering lesser/cheaper models than those that were paid for.

What is the common denominator?  Government.  Government contracts and deals whether at the federal or the local level are unavoidably political deals.  Government contracts and deals don’t just allow for the institutionalization of fraud and corruption….it is inevitable.

Free markets are the only solution to the defrauding of the consumer.  Are there charlatans in the free market selling snake oil?  Absolutely.  They defraud one individual at a time and these lessons are usually learned the hard way…one individual at a time.  Government corruption occurs on a mass scale, however.  People that have the power to award contracts to meter makers or testing centers can easily profit from back room off-the-books deals and many times do, with multitudes affected by the scam, not individuals.  Word of mouth ruins the reputation of the charlatan after having harmed a few individuals.  Recipients of government contracts can harm thousands after having made off with the millions.  The government official receiving the bribe usually gets away with their heist and wastes no time designing their next conquest.

Is their fraud and abuse in medicine?  Absolutely!  My point is that free markets minimize this activity.  It is the very presence of government involvement in medicine that allows for the wide-scale fraud and corruption to occur.  Do we want more government involvement in the practice of medicine?

G. Keith Smith, M.D.

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