Check out this blog. Pretty wordy, so I wouldn’t recommend reading the whole thing. Skip to the last paragraph and check out his question. ..”..Is there any example or evidence, within the U.S. or abroad, that shows that free market health care can work in driving down expenses and ensuring access without government regulation and subsidies?”
The essence of his blog is that there must be a middle ground: a compromise. Free markets by themselves are inadequate, he would say. But communism doesn’t work either. Can’t there be a third way, a third path? Isn’t Obamacare a third path we should support? And besides, there aren’t any examples of free market medicine driving down prices.
OK. Looks like fresh meat to me all of this talk. First, the author isn’t reading this blog. Duh! Second, he has reminded me of a famous story about Ludwig von Mises. When Mises was asked a similar question about a third path of regulated free markets he said there was indeed a third path “…and it leads directly to the third world.” Honest economists call regulated markets “economic fascism” where property is owned privately but heavily regulated by the state. This is very similar to what was called “mercantilism” centuries ago.
That this author is not able to imagine a free market in health care doesn’t mean that it is not possible. This is more an indictment of his imagination than a free market health care system. But then, I am being too kind. What does this guy think our system of health care was like prior to the Ponzi scheme Medicare was enacted? Medicare was what drove prices so high that private health insurance became necessary in the first place. The bill my mother has shown me for my birth in 1961 was about $50. An elderly, retired orthopedist here in Oklahoma City has told me that a hospitalization for a hip fracture with its repair was under $300 in the 1950′s (even adjusted for inflation this is significantly cheaper than today’s cost). No one had insurance. People and/or their families paid these bills and physicians and hospitals couldn’t bill exorbitant amounts because people and their families paid these bills….not insurance companies, certainly not the government.
The author should visit our website. He should perhaps watch this video of my recent visit to D.C. The author’s socialist leanings are unfortunately what the policy makers in D.C. have been exposed to for many years. His blog sounds as if it could have come from the hopelessly compromised AMA, having been purchased by Uncle Sam with the contract for printing code books. Maybe the free market message will get a fair hearing and more will come to know the real life example of how the free market in medicine is currently working at our facility. I anxiously await his challenge to our model: ”…yeah, yeah…but what about the poor?” OK. I promise to write about that even if he doesn’t prod me.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.