C4L: THE LIBERTARIAN ANSWER TO HEALTHCARE- HEALTH FREEDOM AND FREE MARKETS
Submitted by Paco Elijah
The failures of our healthcare system can be blamed on the left and right. Regardless which party is in power the quality of our healthcare continues to decline. Republicans blame democrats and democrats blame republicans but in reality, it’s all just theater. The constant back-and-forth between politicians in both parties is really just a distraction from the root cause of the problem. The root cause being government.
Both parties want you to believe that they can manage healthcare better than the other. But it’s not a question of “who can manage healthcare better?” The question is “should the federal government be managing healthcare in the first place?” Especially since there are millions of people without any healthcare and millions more who are unhappy with their healthcare.
Let’s say the federal government disappeared tomorrow, would there be no more doctors or modern medicine? Would there be no more hospitals, clinics, or rehab centers? Would medical schools cease to exist? If I as a doctor give you the cure for your disease is that cure dependent on whether or not the government was involved? Of course not. Healthcare services are provided and received by private individuals not government. Providing healthcare and/or buying healthcare does not require the existence or the permission of government. So it begs the question “why do we need the government involved in healthcare?” The simple answer is we don’t.
Before the government got involved with Medicaid and Medicare Americans still had hospitals, doctors, clinics, and medical schools. We didn’t have millions of people uninsured with no access to healthcare. Americans received their healthcare through the marketplace, through their employer, or through charity –without government- the way it should be. The prices in those days, like everything else, was much cheaper. When healthcare prices are low the people don’t need to call on government to provide them with insurance and charities can afford to operate. Also, when prices are low, many people won’t even need to purchase health insurance because they can afford to pay ‘out of pocket’ for their medical needs and services when they get sick. It’s the government that creates the conditions in the economy that cause prices to rise and people to become dependent on them.
A major contributing factor, on why people become dependent, is the struggling job market and the unemployment rate over the last century. When more and more people are out of jobs and/or getting lower wages it naturally becomes harder to afford health insurance. In many areas of the economy the government rigs the market by propping up certain companies and then over regulating and over taxing the competition. The government is essentially picking winners and losers. This allows corporations, that are in bed with government, to take advantage of workers and consumers. When your profits are protected and your competition can’t compete then you can continue to raise prices, pay less wages to employees, and provide less benefits for workers. The government creates a marketplace that creates monopolies, rewards cronyism, and hurts the poor and middle class. The struggling economy, the increase in unemployment, and the drop in wages is not a reflection of the marketplace, or the people, or capitalism but rather a reflection of central economic planning by the government.
Since 1913 another major contributing factor for making Americans dependent on government has been the income tax and the hidden tax we know as inflation. The printing of money by the fed and the constant growth of government only forces us to pay more and more in income taxes every year while losing more and more of our dollars purchasing power. This causes prices in all markets to rise and puts a financial burden on every household in America.
Since government got involved with healthcare it has been in the business of setting prices, regulations, and protecting profits through subsidies and bailouts. When the profits of insurance companies are guaranteed by the government then they can charge higher prices for insurance. When the cost is covered by the taxpayers then nobody pays attention to the costs unlike when you pay ‘out of pocket.’ These prices aren’t created by market forces but instead by bureaucrats which is another reason why most Americans have become dependent on government to afford their medical costs.
The answer to healthcare is health freedom and free markets. We as libertarians or liberty candidates shouldn’t support any legislation that doesn’t cut the size and scope of government in healthcare. The health insurance companies should also be removed from having any influence on any legislation. There isn’t one honest progressive or conservative who thinks that insurance companies should be writing the healthcare bill so why are they? and why support it? If republicans claim to love capitalism and democrats claim to hate corporatism then any bill, written by insurance companies, should be an automatic NO vote in the congress. Isn’t it amazing that throughout all the years of government involved in healthcare the number of uninsured Americans continues to rise while at the same time the profits of insurance companies continues to rise as well. They can always seem to pass a bill that raises or protects profits but never one that lowers cost. This is by design.
We need to propose and support legislation that reverses this trend. The first thing we should do is allow people to opt out of the system. One step in the right direction is to give it back to the states. Get rid of any mandates and/or penalties for health insurance. We need to repeal all forms of subsidies, bailouts, rules, and regulations. Insurance companies shouldn’t be forced to cover pre-existing conditions either. It’s almost like forcing insurance companies to cover an auto accident or cover a house that caught on fire before the insurance policy was purchased. This is not how insurance works. We should let the free market bring down prices and those with pre-existing conditions will be able to afford out of pocket costs for their medical treatments. Charities, churches, and private individuals will be more prosperous in a free market and so more help and assistance will be available for those in need. If government is creating the problem then the government needs to get out of the way.
Allow insurance companies to sell across state lines so they can compete for our business. When the consumer has more competition or choice in the marketplace they get better prices and better quality. This is how it works on the black market and you can ask anyone who buys or sells marijuana illegally. The seller has to provide a good price and good quality or else fear losing business to another dealer. When government removes competition or choice then prices are rigged and they don’t have to care about the quality.
We should also remove any regulations put on drugs, vaccines, and/or health products. We should work to end the FDA. This is another burden put on the poor and the sick. When products are put on hold or heavily regulated or made illegal, like marijuana, this only keeps the possible cures or treatments out of the hands of those in need. Think of all the people who could’ve been using marijuana all these years but couldn’t because of government laws. Think of all the dangerous drugs that have been approved by the FDA, then subsidized by the government, and then pushed on to the public. So not only is government destroying the price of healthcare but also the quality of medicine in healthcare which has taken many innocent lives.
Free markets and free speech will do more to educate consumers on which products and treatments are best. The government has no right to block treatment like medical marijuana nor does she have the right to force treatment like mandatory vaccines on us either. Many vaccines have had adverse effects and yet government pushes them on the public through intimidation and propaganda funded by taxpayers. Meanwhile there are herbalists who have claimed to cure diseases and one man by the name of Dr. Sebi proved it to the New York supreme court in 1988. So why haven’t we heard much about them and why are there many diseases without a cure? Does the government, the pharmaceutical industry, or the insurance companies want to cure diseases if it’s going to hurt their profit margin? It’s the government that makes it an incentive to keep people sick and dependent on drugs.
If we had a free market there would be more products and more information or studies available without government interference. The best doctors, herbalists, and cures would come to the surface because the marketplace would demand it. Prices would free-fall and quality would increase because the consumers would demand it as well. Unfortunately, for now, the government is in the way. We must remember that government is always the problem and more liberty is always the solution.