Health care system needs market-based solutions

In case you haven’t already heard, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, passed through both Congress in 2010 and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

While I am against the passage of this law, the bill did imply that health care is a big problem here in the U.S. When corrupt politicians actually try to fix something, usually it is a real social issue.

I recently read a Salon.com article by Mary Elizabeth Williams, who suggested that we need to “encourage each other” and “get off our butts” if we want to solve health care in America. She also suggested that the main problem with the health system isn’t necessarily just the rising health care costs but the false claim that many in this country lack health insurance and have no option to even purchase it.

This is exactly the kind of talk that solves nothing. Let’s stop pretending that health care exists in la-la land and actually address the problems.

Does Williams really think that “getting off our butts” will solve this crisis?

I’m tired of individuals, much like the aforementioned Williams, addressing health care like it can be fixed by mere exercise. It’s going to take more than a 20-minute run to lower health care costs and ensure better quality of life to overweight individuals, individuals with pre-existing conditions and the elderly who are arguably hit hardest by the problem of healthcare.

Let’s get real. Insurance companies are a business. Like any other business, its goal is to profit.

Isn’t it just peachy how they’re all immensely happy that Obamacare will be essentially giving them millions of new customers, instantaneously?

It’s fortunate that our government is so unequivocally blessed with an enormous budget surplus to help pay for the bill’s pricy implementation — oh wait, it isn’t.

While the bill takes power away from consumers, it also does something much worse: It takes power away from doctors.

The cherry on top? Obamacare squeaked by the Supreme Court and, quite frankly, its dangerous premise is downright unconstitutional. What’s next? The mandate, taken to its logical conclusions, allows government to tax you for staying inside.

Enough with the taxes. Enough with the hackneyed, unsuccessful and lackadaisical federal pieces of paper. Enough of this.

This isn’t how we fix health care in America. We don’t trample the Constitution and play into the hands of insurance companies.

We fix health care in this country by relying on the free market. No, not by keeping the system as it is — far from it. Our current system helps suppress the natural checks and balances of the free market.

To help regulate costs, let’s rely on competition. As I’ve said, health care is a business. We can start by letting consumers purchase interstate health insurance.

We can put power back into the hands of consumers by shifting health care power back to the states so that each unique state can address its health care problems accordingly. We can reform Medicare and Medicaid by transforming the unnecessary burdens of bureaucracy. Other practical market-centered solutions abound.

Much like education, it’s easy for health care to tip-toe its way into a social category where economic principles somehow “don’t matter.” It’s easy for politicians to demonize and slander political opponents for being against these “bold solutions.”

Instead, let’s rely on the free market. Let’s rely on competition. Let’s rely on rugged individualism and on economics.

Let’s fix this.

 

Reach this columnist at spmccaul@asu.edu and follow him on twitter at @sean_mccauley

 

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