Stop Paying the Middleman: Healthcare
With the recent announcement of “RyanCare” being pulled completely, I started thinking about American healthcare. Over the last decade, our healthcare costs have continued to rise and insurance companies continue to fork over whatever the hospitals ask for, which artificially rises costs of healthcare as well as the premiums of those using insurance. I have two questions: 1. Why do we pay insurance companies and not doctors directly? 2. Why can’t doctors have a “subscription?”
The free market allows for competition which lowers prices for all individuals and makes more money for the companies involved so they can hire more workers and provide more services, better products, ect. When I bring this up about healthcare, people seem astonished. “It can’t work,” they say, “Healthcare is different!”
Well, I worked in the medical field in the Navy and I also am a regional manager for a sub-medical field. In a video clip from Fox Business’s Stossel, I came to learn that there is already a group trying to integrate healthcare into the free market. The Free Market Medical Association shines light on the artificial creation of high prices by not accepting insurance and advertising their prices. Currently, if you visit their website, or simply watch the video clip from Stossel, you will find that hospitals are charging five times what it actually costs to do procedures! I find it sickening that it seems they are abusing the insurance companies, which, in turn, abuse those using insurance.
With all this new information, I thought of a plan to fix healthcare costs: First, we take away “mandatory health coverage,” which strips individuals of choices and gives more power to insurers and the government. Second, we require advertised pricing for all medical procedures. While, as a libertarian, I believe in a business’s right to choose how they operate, I believe that healthcare should not be allowed to leave individuals in the dark. Third, we allow individuals to shop across state lines for insurance, further lowering premiums and taking more power away from insurers and the government. Fourth, we encourage insurance companies to only cover emergencies and catastrophic injuries and illnesses. Fifth, we encourage individuals to only purchase CI&I plans, if they choose to do so. Sixth, we encourage doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, urgent care clinics, ect., to offer “subscription based healthcare” wherein an individual pays a low monthly fee or a lower annual fee directly to the doctor, network, clinic, hospital instead of the insurance companies.
Subscriptions allows you to pay less money per year, while still having the comfort of knowing you can visit your doctor at any time. Of course, doctors and clinics will set their own pricing and terms based on performance, area, patients (you know, THE FREE MARKET!). You end up paying less per year, but the doctors make more since you’re probably not visiting the doctor multiple times a month (or even a year). Doctors and clinics would have networks filled with specialists, so if you needed to see a specialist, you can do so based on the terms you agreed to, or who has the lowest prices. Hospital subscriptions would probably have many different subscription levels that include specialists. Charity would be the safety net for the poor.
Although this idea may seem foreign to many people at first, it’s not a crazy idea. We already do this sort of thing in our everyday lives, whether it be a Dish Network subscription or a cell phone subscription. I have hundreds of doctors in my area. I can only imagine how far prices will drop whenever competition is allowed and encouraged. The healthcare crisis will be a thing of the past and we will all wonder why we did not do this sooner. Insurance will only be needed, if wanted, by paranoid or risk taking individuals. However, one thing is for sure: it will not be a requirement; it will be a choice.
James Presley is a Navy veteran, a libertarian, and a Texas House of Representatives Candidate for District 29 in 2018. He runs a Facebook page for his campaign @JamesPresleyLibertarian.
Photo: US News & World Report