"Free Markets Deliver Better Health"
We should restore freedom to the healthcare field so that it can become what it should be: a vibrant innovative consumer driven high tech industry that, like the electronics industry, offers us ever greater products at ever lower prices, and whose speed of innovation is breathtaking. Imagine every year seeing a flood of new products and services that make us go, ‘Wow!’ not only by the fact that they can be done, but also by the fact that they can be done so cheaply. Let’s free our healthcare industry so it can be like that.
What specific steps can we take to achieve this goal?
1. Repeal the "Affordable Care Act", which has made health care unaffordable.
2. Allow everyone to buy health insurance across state lines, free of any government mandated coverage. Not only is the government incapable of deciding what coverage is best for you, they have no right to do so.
3. Eliminate the preferential tax treatment for employer provided health insurance, by giving everyone a tax credit for half the cost of a catastrophic health plan.
4. In many states, the entrenched medical providers have gotten control of the regulatory machinery, and are using it to prevent competition and restrict your choices. This should be forbidden.
5. Rein in the FDA. The FDA stifles innovation, and causes thousands of needless deaths by cutting off access to life saving drugs and services on the theory that they might present some risk to some people.
In summary, your life is your own, and your body is your own. The maintenance of your health is not only your own responsibility, but your own right. When government healthcare policy recognizes that fact, the 'crises' will disappear.
The Cause of the Problem
Over the past half century, Congress has repeatedly created well-intentioned programs to increase the "affordability" of things like housing, education and health care, by trying to redistribute wealth and force the market in the desired direction. While everyone wants affordable education, housing, and health care for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors, the results have consistently been disastrous. The most recent example is Obamacare. Instead of providing more access to health insurance at lower prices, it has done the opposite. It has thrown millions of us off our health insurance, increased our costs, and infringed on our rights to choose our own health plans and our own doctors.
The "Affordable Care Act", which has made health care unaffordable, is just the latest in a long history of government 'solutions' which have created more problems than they solved. Every government involvement created more problems, which in turn created demands for even more government involvement, and so on and so on. Now we have an unfolding disaster. Some of the things that the government has done to create this mess are:
First off, Medicare. The original justification for Medicare was that seniors were spending an unconscionable percentage of their income on healthcare. After 50 years, seniors are spending more than ever on healthcare, and the country is on the path to fiscal ruin to boot. I have learned in dealing with my mom's healthcare, that through medicare there is no incentive for the consumer to seek more efficient service, and no way to take advantage of more economical service if they happen to find it. Is it any wonder costs are spiraling upwards?
Secondly, the "Affordable Care Act", which has made health care unaffordable, itself. The solution to a problem created by the government is not more government, it is more freedom. We need to start getting government out of the healthcare business. The much publicized problems with healthcare.gov are only the tip of the iceberg. We don't need government telling us what coverage we need, what doctors we can see, and what medications we can take for which conditions.
Third, by allowing individual states to bar cross state competition, prices go up. Less competition means higher prices. States then ad mandatory coverage that the consumer may not need or want. Millions of people then have to go without insurance, because their only other option is coverage they don't need at a price they can't afford.
Fourth, the privileged tax treatment for employer provided health insurance, results in powerful tax incentives that create a system where most of the healthcare that someone buys is paid for indirectly through a third party payer, the insurance company. This is a bad way to run things.
What is the purpose of insurance? It is to protect us from financial disaster, it is not a way of obtaining ordinary goods and services. We use home insurance to repair our house when a pipe breaks or there is a fire. We do not use it for upkeep, not even for the major expenses. For example we don’t use it to repair our washing machine, repainting, re-roofing. Now some people do have appliance maintenance programs, but not most. Insurance is there to protect us from the unexpected, not from the routine, even if the routine is expensive.
Imagine if our homeowners insurance operated like our health insurance, and what it would be like if we wanted to paint our house. We would have to get a pre-authorization, the color would have to be approved by a specialist, we could only use painters that were in the insurance company’s provider network, if we went with a non-network provider, our copay would be much higher. If the painter found some dry rot while doing the prep, a separate claim would have to be filed, and approval obtained for the extra work. If this is making your feel frustrated just thinking about it, remember, this is what we accept as the normal way of obtaining health care services.