Health Care and Free Markets

I missed this from last month: during a Republican debate last month, Ron Paul was questioned on the role government should have in paying for the health care of a patient in a coma. Paul stated that in a free society, people should be allowed to choose on their own whether they have insurance, and assume any consequences of their choice. When pressed further (“are you saying that society should just let him die?”), Paul stated friends, neighbors, and churches can help out.

The left-wing group Think Progress pointed out that Kent Snyder, a key strategist during Paul’s 2008 presidential run, passed away due to complications from pneumonia. Mr. Snyder did not have health insurance, and left behind $400,000.00 in medical bills.

According to Think Progress, this is an indictment of “Paul’s world of free market health care.”


Government edicts manipulating the market towards one form of insurance over another, a form of insurance that has proven extraordinarily costly, is not “free market health care.” Prohibiting citizens from going across state lines to purchase the insurance of their choice is not “free market health care.” Mandates on insurance policies do not constitute “free market health care.” Manipulating employers to offer health “benefits” in lieu of wage increases because of the tax preference for those “benefits” is not “free market health care.” When government already pays for over 40% of health care costs (and will pay for half of all costs in the near future), that is not “free market health care.”

The over-consumption of health care and the resulting upward pressure on costs we experience thanks to government programs, mandates, distortions, regulations and manipulations is not a function of “free market health care.”

We don’t have a free market in health care. We haven’t had one for years. Our health care system is statist. And thanks to Obamacare, the US will double down on our statist health care system, consequences be damned.

And when those consequences come home to roost, the left will continue to blame “free market health care.”


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