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Comments about ‘My view: A free market can't solve healthcare’

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Published: Sunday, Nov. 10 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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E Sam
Provo, UT

Superb analysis. Absolutely right.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

Representative King is right, but our problem is really at a more fundamental level. In capitalism we persist in seeing labor as a commodity. Labor is made up of people who don't own capital for the most part, and who survive by selling their sweat. A commodity is something which when rendered obsolete or worn out is simply cast aside or scrapped. This is what awaits labor, i.e. human beings. In our masses, if the Ayn Rand followers get their way, we will be left to die when medical care could have allowed us to last longer. We are biological beings, not machinery.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Until we take politics out of the healthcare debate and actually analyze the problem, our solutions will fall short.

Look at any hospital bill and try to make sense out of the charges. It is not possible to connect service with the associated costs.

An astute businessman, unconnected to politics or the industry itself could make huge improvements.

We have a problem that will bankrupt our country. And yet, we are still more concerned with politics and profits than fixing it.

And no one really wants to fix it.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Ya got to sign it to know what it said. Too bad none of the elected read it first.

Semi-Strong
Louisville, KY

We have the most free market oriented healthcare system in the world. We also have the most expensive and there is no one running a close second. The difference is no explained by quality. More of the same (free market forces) will not solve the issue.

Is the ACA the answer? Single payer? Something else? I don't know. But doubling down on market forces does not seem to be a wise way to go. We need to look at what has been successful elsewhere.

Chad S
Lorton, VA

It is NOT the responsibility of the market to make goods and services affordable. And it is NOT the responsibility of the government to subsidize the difference.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Obama and the Demos like to make us believe they are concerned about the uninsured in America saying our healthcare is broken. Depending on who you believe there are about 30 million uninsured persons in America and about half of them are healthy, younger people who have chosen NOT to have health insurance. That's less than 5% of the population who can't afford healthcare insurance and thus the totally manufactured crisis of the uninsured. For 5% we trashed the entire otherwise very good healthcare system that 95% of Americans enjoyed and traded it for Obamacare? Obamacare was never about healthcare, it was entirely about control and it was done with lies, deceptions and force. It will be interesting to see how American voters will respond to the Demos in 2016 elections.

John Kateel
Salt Lake City, UT

Prior to the passage of the ACA we did not a free market, we had healthcare feudalism. Those folks toiling under a benevolent owner may be allowed the benefit of "health care" at his or her discretion. The ACA breaks that employment lock. Those lucky folks working for large operations never really knew what premiums cost, because they never purchased it themselves. Now they do as they should! Now that healthcare is an actual right and not analogous to a "tip" one would courteously leave a good waitress, things are tilting more to a real market. If everyone has health insurance through some avenue, then maybe now hospitals would no longer be the only business where by law they must offer free services ( stabilization care) for those who can't or do not want to pay. If I were running a business and had to write off free stuff, I would value the free stuff at maximum accounting value thus driving up on paper costs. The new risk pool is no longer as large as your employer. It is now 313 million Americans big. Larger pool, lower premiums. Also less public health hazards now from untreated infectious disease.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

"Those proposing to repeal and replace Obamacare must either admit they are content with current or higher numbers of individuals..."

No, prior to ObamaCare being shoved through congress, there were about a dozen principles that could have passed both houses with almost a consensus. Rep. Chaffetz talked about them in his town halls, others did as well.

Unlike the Utah legislature, where the Republicans and Democratic members often work on a consensus, even if one side has the votes, Congress hasn't done that.

Yes ObamaCare should be repealed and replaced. I am not saying replaced with nothing, I am saying we should do what we should have done to start with. Take the list that almost everyone agrees needs fixing, such as Pre-Existing Conditions, competition across state lines, limits of liability, etc.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Agreed.

A well thought out, Well reasoned opinion piece.

The Free Market, consisting of For-Profit Insurance middlemen created the cost over runs and problems surfacing in the ACA.

The only way to fix it now is a SINGLE-PAYER non-profit (Government) run system.
Just like the rest of the Free World.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

Great column.

The socialization of health insurance presents a serious problem for some defenders of Capitalism, because the free market for insurance, free of any regulation, tends strongly toward brutal, unsympathetic Darwinism, survival of the fittest. People with family histories of various diseases would be monetarily punished and strongly dis-incentivized from reproducing.

The dilemma is most people in America have a moral framework that guides them, for the majority, Christianity. Jesus would never go for the brutal Darwinism that Capitalism naturally cultivates, and when it comes to healthcare, the brutality is magnified.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Just as nobody flinches on the topic of using tax money to provide education for the children of poor people, there are strong proponents of Free Enterprise having an exception in their general philosophy, for healthcare.

A recent article on the CEOs of successful Canadian companies reveals very strong proponents of Capitalism who are mystified that the US is struggling so much with this issue. To them, healthcare for all is a common sense economic issue, just like educating children.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Excellent piece. Over the years several Republicans have proposed various "free market" based solutions to our healthcare problems. Every single one of these solutions featured mandates for everyone to carry insurance. Go back and look at Richard Nixon's National Health Program of 1974 to see one of the first examples. Look at our own Senator's Bennet-Wyden plan for another.

Finally look at the Heritage Foundation plan from the early nineties for another. That plan is the basis for the ACA, and also for Romneycare. Republicans supported these ideas up until the day that President Obama proposed them. It was only then that they became Socialism, Communism, and Fascism all rolled into one.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Clear and inescapable argument. The free market works well when demand is elastic. I can choose to buy a Honda or a Rolls Royce. But my health is "inelastic"--I can't choose if I have a genetic condition or an accident or if I get old. And even if I could choose, I would never choose the "low-cost provider" to handle my glaucoma.

Nonconlib
Happy Valley, UT

Nothing new here, but an excellent summary of why the market simply does not work for health care. I'll be interested to see what specific ideas the market defenders out there come up with to refute the basic fact given in this editorial.

The only sensible solution, if we really want to get costs under control and cover all citizens is to follow the lead of all other industrialized countries (and many Third World nations as well) and institute a single-payer system. The easiest and most sensible route would simply be to expand Medicare to cover everyone. Medicare has been successful for decades, and senior citizens would be upset if we tried to take it away and replace it with some sort of market-based system. All we need to do is fund it properly, which would cost far less than the hodge-podge system we have been living with for many years now.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

After reading this letter from Rep. King and noting the various very good descriptions of the workings of insurance theory within a free market, I was surprised to read his final sentence, "The natural laws of markets and insurance can’t be ignored."

Forcing people to buy/provide something they don't want/need is simply the socialist's (a slightly less aggressive Communist) way of ignoring/denying "The natural laws of markets and insurance..."

Ultimately, those natural forces will ALWAYS prevail. Which is precisely why they should never be ignored.

In the case of Obamacare, as I predicted it's initial stumbling/fumbling start, I predict now that it will eventually, inevitably fail, catastrophically....and all because of the natural laws that its implementation ignores/denies.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Health is not a commodity. And it cannot be insured. Good article.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

"Look at any hospital bill and try to make sense out of the charges. It is not possible to connect service with the associated costs."

Bingo!

When our son had surgery a couple of years ago, we never even saw an itemized hospital bill. The hospital charges were $40k (for 4 hrs in the hospital-operating and recovery rooms only). We ended up paying $200 and our insurance paid $10k.

Among the most profitable industries in the U.S. are pharmaceutical and medical equipment makers.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Once again, Mr. King hits it out of the park!

Bravo!

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"It is NOT the responsibility of the market to make goods and services affordable."

Which is why it's the responsibility of the government!

Goods and services are commodities. Health care is a right, just like free speech and the right to vote. It is the responsibility and obligation of the government to provide health care.

Sorry folks, free market had its chance! Just like it had its chance to provide us clean water, security, fire protection, etc. But it failed miserably. Time for the government to step in! The free market can go back to selling cars and popcorn. Serious issues like police and health care needs to be run by the government.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Mountainman,

Tell me what happens when that 22 year old has an accident, or gets cancer.
Who pays?

"It will be interesting to see how American voters will respond to the Demos in 2016 elections."

Americans have a low opinion of the Democrats in Congress. It it gets much lower, they could catch the Republicans in Congress.

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