Sunday, December 20, 2009

Free Market Health Care Reform: A Real Alternative to ObamaCare

Most of us today realize the undoubted necessity of major health care reform. For those of us who do not wish to maintain the status quo, there are two sides to the argument. The Obama administration and the Democratic majority in Congress propose more government. Even Republicans are proposing their own slightly lighter version of ObamaCare. However, the only real solution to our health care problems is not more government, but less. It is the very regulations, subsidies, taxes, and inflationary policies proposed today that have led to our health care problems in the first place.

People are being taxed more than they have ever been before. Forty to seventy percent of each income earned by the middle class and the wealthy is now deemed government property, and taxed accordingly. Property taxes, payroll taxes, and corporate taxes are at an all-time high. All of this combines to kill jobs, drive up costs, and make our nation poorer by taking money from citizens to pay for unaffordable government programs, so-called "investments" in money-losing projects, useless bailouts, excessive government salaries, and, worst of all, imperialistic wars that only weaken our national security. With these expenses, it is no wonder that the cost of premiums, treatments, and medical care is at an all-time high. These costs are becoming unaffordable for thousands of American families.

Businesses continue to suffer from heavy price controls, wage laws, union-appeasing legislation, and pointless regulations. This kills profits by raising expenses, which in effect leads to reduced wages, higher prices on consumer goods and services, and a lower motivation to work, compete, and innovate. Advancements in medicine and opportunities to lower costs in order to compete are stifled by these expenses. When prices are fixed by government bureaucrats instead of the free market, the incentive to make improvements and provide better services is damaged. When doctors and patients have to sign more paperwork in order to meet the demands of time-wasting loopholes and expensive government regulations, the efficiencies produced by doctor-patient negotiations are no longer existent. Businesses can no longer afford to provide adequate wages or employer-provided health insurance for their workers.

Subsidies reward failure at the expense of the taxpayer. Big pharma, various insurance companies, and the medical-industrial complex rake in handouts with no idea of what will truly benefit or satisfy consumers. The transmission of information produced by the price system is distorted by false stimulus dollars that provide no calculation of profit and loss. Knowing what consumers want - and how much consumers are willing to pay - becomes much harder when funds are acquired by force rather than by the voluntary actions of consumers themselves.

Last, but not least, if we are to bring about real changes to our health care system, a problem we must be willing to face is the problem of monetary inflation produced by escalating wartime budgets, corporate welfare, cheap handouts, and the very central banking system we adopted under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Credit expansion leads to distorted interest rates and high levels of monetary inflation, causing endless boom-bust cycles and dollar degradation. Inflation is the biggest and sneakiest tax of all. It robs people of the value of their hard-earned money, which, in turn, brings down their actual wages and raises the prices of consumer goods and services. Hiring workers becomes more expensive, and businesses suffer as a result. Doctors, patients, hospitals, and companies are hurt in the process. Medical care only becomes more unaffordable.

From these facts, we can deduce that ObamaCare is simply more of the same. The overall economic costs of this expensive overhaul will only make things worse for consumers, workers, and employers alike. High taxes, excessive regulations, costly subsidies, and rising inflation is going to make everything we buy more expensive and everything we sell more worthless. Doctor-patient relationships, medical innovations, incentives to drive down costs, and quality of care will continue to suffer as a result. This is no way to reform health care. In order to truly reform health care, we must be willing to:
  • Provide more tax credits and tax cuts
  • Rollback price controls and medical regulations
  • Stop favoring unions and the medical-industrial complex over consumers
  • Eliminate subsides for insurance companies, big pharma, and corporations
  • Slash our budgets to fight inflation
  • Reduce the discretionary powers of the Federal Reserve, and...
  • Take health care out of bureaucratic hands and return it to the powers of the free market
Real health care reform starts not by asking government to solve our problems, but by getting it out of the way. Only then will the individual achievement unleashed by the powerful forces of the free market guide us to improve services, lower costs, and provide high-quality health care for a greater number of people. Freedom does wonders for our personal, economic, and social well-being.

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