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People Need Free Market Healthcare

The solution to the spiraling costs of healthcare is free market efficiency, not beaurocratic Obama-care. The current healthcare proposals are sweet deals for everyone except tax-paying Americans.



The reality is that what the White House, President Obama, and the proponents of this healthcare reform are telling us, doesn't make sense. Obamacare is not consistent with common sense and basic economics, because you cannot "legislate" efficieny into the market, at least not in the way that they are trying to accomplish it.

First, we need to understand that universal healthcare and socialized medicine are not necessarily the same thing. We can have universal coverage that is not socialized. For example, the government could just give everyone in the country a big chunk of money toward buying private healthcare. Likewise, socialized medicine does not have to be universal either. Medicare and Medicaid, are government run socialized medicine, but because only certain people are eligible, they are not universal.

What the Democrats are trying to do is regulate the healthcare industry, give universal coverage to everyone, and provide a government run "public option". Regarding the public option, the devil is in the details. If the public option is not funded by tax payer money, and truly has to compete on its own merits, then what we would have is really not that different from what we have now. We would have a blend of heavily regulated private and socialized medicine that is a sweet deal for the insurance companies, the medical industry, and basically everyone except tax-paying Americans.

America is wealthy because of free markets, not government beaurocracy.

America is a very productive country, as reflected in our world leading GDP. It is because of our productivity, that we are also the wealthiest nation in the world. Above everything else, the main reason for this is free markets. Free markets create competition, which drive innovation and efficiency, as opposed to corruption and croniism.

I look at the fact that I can walk into a grocery store, and by pasta, and hamburger, and rice, and cereal, and eat for a week for thirty dollars. I like the fact, that for around thirteen thousand dollars, I can buy a new car that gets great gas mileage, is safe, and won't disintegrate at fifty thousand miles. Obviously, I can't drive a Mercedes for that price, but I'm fine with that. Per hour of work, we get alot more for our money, because of the efficiency, innovation, and productivity of free markets. Sure, corporations love to convince us that we need things we really don't, or trap us into usury, but that's part of being free; we have the responsiblity of making decisions, and then reaping the consequences.

Free markets give us more for less. They replace corrupt and incompetent businesses with efficient and innovative ones. They give us as consumers the power of choice, and a way to make industry and business serve us better. Overall, we see that in all areas of our lives, free markets result in better quality, better prices, and more for our money.

Now a person with common sense will say, "if free markets serve us well in other areas, why not healthcare?". The reality is that the people that are leading this country now probably don't understand, or believe in free markets. They've chosen to substitute reality with cheap emotionalism and wishful thinking. They think they can legislate efficiency, sprinkle on some hope and change, and the cost of healthcare will magically drop. Well, we know it won't. Medicare and medicaid keep rising, and will continue to rise. You can't just give everyone free health care, and not deal with the reality that costs are rising, and someone's going to have to pay for it all.

That's the problem, we already have semi-socialized medicine. The system is broken because the free market is not working. People have lost touch with the reality that every pill or service they need has to get paid for by someone somewhere. Without free markets the medical industry has a blank check to charge people whatever they want. Drug companies and insurance companies make enormous profits. We have a situation where the sensitive and essential nature of healthcare has been allowed to drive free markets and competition out of the system. The result is spiraling costs, and two options. We can either pay the rising costs, or ration the care that can be afforded.

This is why what is being proposed is a sweet deal for everyone involved, except taxpayers. The insurance companies know that this unfunded public option, at least at this point, is not a threat to them. They know that rank politics and gross inefficiency will set the bar so low that they will be able to run circles around it, just like UPS and Fed-ex run circles around the post office. It won't be long before all the players involved have figured out how to exploit the situation in order to raise their profits, and not through efficiency, but at taxpayer expense.

The insurance companies fear free markets.

What the insurance companies really fear is having to compete with eachother. Breaking up the insurance monopoly, and opening up national markets would be a great start to reducing costs, but for some reason it was left out of the legislation. What a surprise. Also, tort reform is badly needed. The exorbitant sums paid in malpractice suits don't really hurt the ones responsible, and just raise the costs of care. If the doctor is that incompetent and negligent then take away their license, or even put them in jail. Curiously, tort reform has also been left out of this bill. I wonder if the trial lawyers had anything to do with that? So it seems like everything that they should be doing to reduce the costs, has been taken off the table.

One of the difficulties with healthcare reform is that inserting free market principles into healthcare is very challenging. Are we willing to let people die in the streets, because they refused to buy healthcare? Many people don't have anything to begin with, and so they assume that if they get sick, someone else will have to pay for it. There is no easy solution, but it seems that what is being proposed goes a long way towards making things worse. All they are doing is expanding the existing situation, and hoping that it will pay for itself. It might be true that a free market system favors those who have money, but just like everything else, everyone will benefit from the innovation and efficiency that will take place in the long run.

The best solution is probably to break up the insurance monopolies, and let them seek out cost saving measures, while forcing them to inform consumers about the nature of their policies. They need to be allowed to design policies that encourage cost saving measures among consumers. However, they also need to be forced to inform consumers, so that they have a clear understanding of the policy they are buying, and what is covered or not covered. So people can buy budget plans with high co-pays, and little choice, or expensive fancy insurance. Then people can compare insurers and rates, across the nation, and try to choose health plans that will adequately cover them for an afforable price. There are many other good ideas, but unfortunately emotionalism and ignorance about free markets have so poisoned this debate, that whatever happens, the problem will likely get worse.



Comments

get a life      25 Oct 2009, 19:37

do you think jesus would want free market anything the way the free market is run in this day and age.

Doug Buckley      26 Oct 2009, 19:26

It's amazing how agitated some on the left become when their "emotionalism" is actually challenged.

Jesus certainly does teach charity, and helping the poor, but he is not a socialist. You see charity, by definition, is when someone willingly shares their wealth and property with others. However, when someone's work, wealth, or property is seized, and then distributed to others by governmental mandate, that is called tyranny.

Jesus never advocates a revolution against the wealthy, or against free markets (which have existed since ancient times, and do not have to be "run" by a central authority). Instead, he teaches that we all have a personal responsibility to help others.

That is the irony here, liberals are not willing to lead by example, and give away their own wealth. Instead they want to seize other people's wealth, and then distribute it as they see fit, through social programs and such, making people more dependent on government. Thus, we see that this really isn't about helping the poor, but about using the power and control of government to bring about a certain utopian vision of an ideal society, at the expense of the individual.

Equal access to healthcare      16 Aug 2010, 00:28

Quality health care should be equally accessible to all peoples of all economic levels. The problem with the current so-called free market system is that it is not "equal." With the current system, only the "haves" can access good quality health care. I dare to say that Jesus would not approve of that kind of system. Jesus cared about those who were the lowliest in this realm unlike many mainstream Christians today. To call the health care policy "Obama-care" first of all is a misnomer when it is hundreds of individuals working together to create the policy.

To advocate for a system that sustains inequality and inaccessibility to quality health care is hypocritical for a true Believer. The hypocrisy amongst some Christians today is really so broad and apparent that as a result the Antichrist gets stronger. How ironic is that?

Doug Buckley      16 Aug 2010, 16:14

Where does it say in the bible that government should steal from the rich and redistribute to the poor? It doesn't, and in fact stealing from people is a sin. Healthcare is a commodity, and there is no biblical basis for making someone pay for someone else's healthcare.

That being said, we do do this to a point, because Americans are a compassionate people. If government wasn't doing it, then private charities would be stepping up, and probably doing a better job.

The issue of tyranny aside, free markets incentivize productivity, and generate wealth, and this means that there is more given to the greatest number of people in the long run. Free markets might create wealth disparity, but the poor in this country are fatter than the rich. That's real charity. If you had said such a thing would happen to someone living in Jesus' time, they'd think you were nuts.

Solomon says, "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat" (Proverbs 13.4 KJV bible). "The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing" (Provers 20.4 KJV bible).

If you take from the diligent and reward the sluggard, pretty soon the diligent will not even bother.

Taryn leydon      25 Oct 2010, 05:44

I am consistently amazed at how you graciously and thoroughly respond to people who challenge your beliefs. I completely agree with what you have said in this article. You can not take from the dilligent and give to the sluggard and expect a good outcome. Jesus consistently speaks about hard work and reaping the benefits. Giving and charity work is out of the kindness of our hearts as Christians. The government stealing from the hardworking and redistributing as they see fit is socialism and it's nothing but corrupt and destructive.

Doug Buckley      25 Oct 2010, 12:17

Thanks Taryn, that pretty much sums it up when it comes to bible being twisted around to support things like socialized healthcare instead of real charity.

dfirefox83      02 Mar 2011, 17:27

I am helping a friend of mine write a case analysis about healthcare and leaving it to the free market and I gotta say, this is a great piece of article, Doug. It really doesn't seem bias and it comes from someone who is informed about what is going on and making a general statement about this healthcare reform without having to go about gibbering mumble jumbles. I, too believe healthcare should be left to the free market and if by the track record leaving anything in government's hands has shown, healthcare universal coverage might bumble and treated like something everyone wants like foodstamp and low-income housing.

Doug Buckley      03 Mar 2011, 07:44

Thanks dfirefox. I recently bought a new pair of glasses online, 45$ shipped. I'm really impressed with the quality of them so far. Some optical places would charge hundreds for the exact same glasses.

In general people should be shopping around for the best quality health care at the best prices. The current system doesn't do this, and the liberals are trying to make it even worse. The current system is all based on people spending other peoples money and not caring about cost, which is partly why it keeps going up.
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