A People’s Town Hall
Posted by James Ostrowski on September 1, 2009 10:52 PM
I am speaking tomorrow (Wed.) at a town hall meeting in East Aurora, NY, Millard Fillmore’s home town. Our local congressmen have been MIA in the health care debate so we scheduled our own and invited them but they stiffed us. Here are my remarks on health care:
On health care, the key point is that government creates its own demand. Every prior government intervention into the free market created problems that led to ever more government interventions, culminating in partially-socialized medicine in the 1960’s with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. M & M have spent trillions without producing any obvious improvement in health. Take a look at life expectancy charts for the last 100 years and see if you can find when M & M came in.
On the contrary, there is an epidemic of obese poor kids with diabetes and there are millions of elderly on so many drugs they can’t think straight and who need to take extra drugs to fight the side effects of the other ones. Other unintended consequences of these programs are bidding up the price of health care and introducing all that maddening paperwork into the system.
So, as with every other big government program, partially socialized medicine has failed. The solution is not to jump off the cliff of fully socialized medicine nor is the status quo acceptable. As Ludwig von Mises pointed out, we can’t do nothing because the mixed economy we have now is always moving towards socialism. Have you noticed?
So, the only possible solution to this mess is to move toward a free market in health care and do so immediately! End the cartels, the monopolies, the regulations, the subsidies, and the licensing schemes.
Remember what Milton Friedman said 45 years ago: “The American Medical Association is perhaps the strongest trade union in the United States. The essence of the power of a trade union is its power to restrict the number who may engage in a particular occupation.”
So, we give legal monopolies to doctors and hospitals and insurance companies and then we wonder why their prices are so damn high! I have a better idea. There are town hall meetings all over the country to deal with the problems in health care, one of the most highly regulated and subsidized industries in America. What is the least regulated industry in America? Computers and electronics. There, the free market delivers cheaper and better goods and services every year and not a single public meeting has ever been called to express dissatisfaction with that amazingly productive free market industry.
On health care, let’s try freedom. It works. Nothing else does.