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What will replace employer-based Health Care?

By: Frank Yunker

Date: 2017-09-28

A recent Wall Street Journal article explained that employer based health care plans covered 53% of the country, down from 61% in 2012. Obamacare is single-handedly destroying the employer-based market. So, when Obamacare fully implodes, what should we replace it with? Rand Paul does not want universal health care as a right. He is a doctor himself and he understands the implication. If health care was a right, he would be forced into slavery. So, what should health care look like?

Doctors to face market forces. That is the only way for supply to meet demand. Sometimes that is good for doctors and sometimes it is good for patients. Third party players (insurance companies or governments) always increase costs. Check what has happened to laser eye surgery cost over the past 2 decades. It is not covered by government or insurance and the price is now low enough for poor people to afford it. Isn't that the point?

Government is not the solution. See Venezuela for more details where doctors can earn more as prostitutes in Columbia than as a doctor or teacher in Venezuela. Or look at Cuba where doctors drive taxis for tourists because the money is better than doctoring. In short, you cannot find a political or bureaucratic solution to an economic problem. An elderly person I know recently hurt herself and ended up in the hospital. Medicare deemed her condition as 2.5 days worthy, but since she was getting IV, she stayed several more days. Because some bureaucrat said you can get an IV at an urgent care center, they denied payment. She now owes $24,000 even though she arrived at the hospital confused and just did what the doctor ordered.

Government Bureaucrats don't belong in health care. Rand points out that universal health care is NOT a right because in order for the government to guarantee that right, they must force doctors to work. If you demand health care, someone must supply it. I once interviewed a girl in the Outback of Australia. She had just had a major gash on her leg. She needed stitches, but the closest doctor was 5 hours away in Alice Springs. The government promises her universal health care but they cannot deliver on their promise without forcing a doctor to move to her town.

True, they did not force a doctor into slavery. But they reneged on their promise to her. And doctor services were not available AT ANY PRICE. The further the solution is from the free market, the worse the outcome will be for poor people... at any price.

Both Trump and Bernie supporters agree that collusion by government and corporations is a bad thing. (I ignore Hillary supporters because she personified the corporate government collusion. See the Clinton Foundation donor list for more details.) But one group wants to drain the swamp while other wants more government in order to fight the government-corporation complex. I do not see how that would work.

The free market is reactive. It encourages innovation. Competition drives lower prices and that's the best thing ever for poor people. Price controls lead to shortages and one provider (whether government or monopoly) leads to price controls. The other thing that leads to higher prices is 3rd party payers, be it government or insurance companies. If health insurance was treated like automobile insurance, that is for unforeseen expenses and not for routine maintenance, premiums and prices would plummet.

We all want the same thing. Quality care at affordable prices. If we go to universal care, it really means "to each according to their needs and from each according to their abilities." The Soviet Union tried that and failed. And besides, that leads us back to one person working for the benefit of another, which was how this conversation started. Rand Paul defines that as "involuntary servitude" or slavery.