What’s free market health care? | Letter

Do you want a single-payer or a Medicare-for-all system?

Do you want a single-payer or a Medicare-for-all system? You shouldn’t. Because free markets are better than the government at running things. Here’s a 10-point free market health care plan.

1. Legalize basic, bare bones health insurance: There are few plans in Washington because regulations, like weeds, strangle them. Reduce mandates where the state requires all plans to cover specific things, like acupuncture, birth control or mental health. This requires consumers to buy a “Cadillac,” or nothing.

2. Legalize selling health insurance between states.

3. Repeal laws requiring businesses to provide health insurance to employees: This artificially stimulates demand, raising the price. Jobs and health insurance don’t have to be linked.

4. Amend the tax code: End the health care subsidy to the wealthy. Allowing a deduction just for health insurance purchased by employers, but not by individuals, distorts the market.

5. Reduce third-party (insurance or government) payments: When someone else pays, you lose track of costs and the highest price is paid. Higher deductibles for basic care encourage shopping and price consciousness, which brings down prices and incentivizes healthy lifestyles. Cosmetic surgery is the only part of health care where prices are going down. Why? Because people pay directly.

6. Encourage medical savings accounts which, like an IRA, are tax free for health bills.

7. Deregulate prescription drugs to lower prices: Allow more drugs over the counter, like birth control pills, codeine, arthritis meds and antibiotics. Allow international purchase of drugs and re-importation from Canada.

8. Reduce the FDA and replace it with a private certification system: Enable us to choose drugs with an “experimental” label on them. The FDA’s long approval process adds hugely to medicines’ cost and people die waiting for approval.

9. Allow limited liability: Where patients waive their right to sue for some damages, so physicians can treat them for less — because of cheaper malpractice insurance. This requires informed patient consent. It would make preventative check-ups affordable and maybe bring back the house call.

10. “De-credentialize”: Open up medical, dental and nursing schools to more students. This would “flood” the labor side of the market increasing access to care. Let nurses do more to achieve efficiencies. Encourage private accreditation without rigid state-run licensing that artificially restricts labor entry. Allow more visas for foreigners.

So that’s “free market health care.” Socialism is not kind. Free markets are much nicer.

Jeff Jared,