Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Healthcare best off in free market

Healthcare best off in free market

(My Clovis News Journal column for October 4, 2013)

If someone has a broken ankle you can't solve their problem by shooting them in the kneecap. If the problem is the cost of medical care you can't solve it by socializing medicine and giving government even more control. Government interference is what drove the price up to begin with.

The way to bring the price back down is to ensure a separation of medicine and state.

This would mean an end to ObamaCare, Medicare, Medicaid, to the FDA and the DEA (and the DEA's war on politically incorrect drugs), and the end of state licensing (and therefore rationing) of medical professionals.

There are people who can't afford health care. The proper way to solve the problem is two-fold: reduce the cost of medical care and then help those who still can't afford it. Charities have always been an excellent solution to the latter problem- except when driven out of the market by coercive welfare.

The way to reduce the cost of health care is incredibly simple, but requires letting go of some carefully crafted misconceptions. The biggest of those is that only government can adequately oversee safety and protect the patients.

The FDA wouldn't necessarily have to be abolished, but it shouldn't be the only game in town, nor should it have the final say. Let independent labs determine the safety and effectiveness of new medications, putting their reputations behind the release of the new treatments they approve. Let doctors and patients decide what treatments they want to try.

On the other hand, the DEA needs to die a quick death and be forced out of the business of driving up the price of drugs through prohibition and the prescription scam. Drug abuse is bad; drug prohibition is worse by every measure.

No one needs multiple years of medical school to set a broken arm or to diagnose and treat a flu. Allow those interested in practicing the healing arts to be certified by competing agencies. If you've heard good things about the doctors trained or certified by "Docs R Us", and have less confidence in the doctors turned out by "Bob's Skool of Medasin", make your decisions accordingly. Let people hang up a shingle and compete for patients. If a medical condition is beyond the healer's ability, make it easy for them to admit this and refer the patient to a more skilled provider.

You are smart enough to decide where to buy a car, or who to marry, and you are mature enough to live with the consequences of a bad decision. Medical care is no different.


The Caprock people

Libertarians are really radical compared to "the majority" today.

It wasn't always that way; not to the degree it is now.

The libertarian is like a stone that stays in place as the landscape around it erodes.  A caprock.  Over time, people on the eroded land look up and say "That stone is getting higher all the time!"  They don't realize that the stone hasn't moved; the ground they are standing on has kept getting lower.

This is why libertarians are now considered so "radical" when observed by the degraded people around us.  Of course, they are also standing on their heads so they see us as the degraded ones, but I suppose that's a topic for another day.