Health care reform vital for all Americans
University of Illinois
In your recent editorial, “Health care reform vital for all Americans,” you applaud the proposed healthcare bill for its efforts to “reform the broken health care system,” but you never mention who broke it in the first place.
After all, it is the government that has prevented insurers from competing across state lines while mandating certain kinds of coverage. Insurance providers, therefore, cannot grow their businesses to cover more people, ensuring them a greater profit, or design packages with limited services aimed at particular classes of consumers, a move that could lower costs for consumers while increasing revenues. Institutions like the FDA regularly ban new medicines from entering the market; compel pharmaceutical companies to work with short-term patents, effectively forcing them to charge more to cover their costs; and stop foreign pharmaceutical companies from selling their drugs to Americans. The price of prescription drugs, as a result, remains artificially high. Even doctors’ purchase of malpractice insurance, its high price caused by the numerous frivolous lawsuits our current medical laws allow, contributes to their overhead, thus elevating the cost of medical care.
These are just three symptoms of the same disease: government’s violation of the rights of those working in the medical industry. To operate, the medical industry requires that rights be respected – the right of health insurers to set their own terms, the right of pharmaceutical companies to sell what drugs they choose, the right of consumers to buy them if offered, and the right of doctors to be free from irrational litigation. All men, whether they are doctors, businessmen, or day laborers, must have their rights protected by the government, with no exception. And as a corollary, to force anyone to comply with government edicts destroys their capacity to make their own choices and control their own lives. Instead of strapping down the medical industry like a government patient, we should be letting the physicians heal themselves. That is the only policy that can cure this disease because it is the only policy consistent with individual rights.