(The following was published today by my local newspaper, The Signal, as an opinion piece on 15 March 2017)
In the Weekender edition of The Signal published March 10th was an editorial by Jim de Bree entitled “Long road to fixing Obamacare”. Unfortunately, I think his column is very far off the mark.
The first clue: his use of the term “level playing field”. Every time I hear that nonsense, I know I’m about to be hit with some Big Government socialist scheme that usually involves wealth redistribution, and government interference in this arena is a perfect example.
What Jim doesn’t seem to accept is that government isn’t the solution to the problem; government IS the problem.
We need to get the government OUT of the health insurance field altogether. The Constitution guarantees equality of opportunity, not of outcome, so the government has no legitimate role to play in “leveling the playing field” while interfering with free-market solutions to the problem as would be realized by competitive product availability, as well as private philanthropic and charitable activities.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There are three simple steps to addressing the problems in this arena:
- Remove the barriers to interstate sales of health insurance products. Free market product competition will, by its very nature, lower prices and increase choice options for consumers.
- Streamline the FDA drug approval process. It can currently cost upwards of a billion dollars to bring a new drug to market, or a medical procedure to accepted practice.
- Institute major medical tort reform to eliminate the need for the practice of “defensive medicine”. Patients are often subjected to unnecessary testing and other procedures their doctors require simply in an effort to indemnify themselves from potential future lawsuits. Defensive medicine is a significant cost multiplier.
Do those three simple things and we’ll see healthcare and related costs stop their spiraling ascent, and return those costs to an actual basis reflecting real needs and usage as determined by free market principles.
Socialized medicine, under whatever guise, is NOT the answer.