The U.S. healthcare system is one of the most expensive and least effective in the world. Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls, and if it comes down to a contest between Bernie and Trump, I predict that more voters will choose higher taxes in order to get healthcare than higher taxes in order to get a war with Iran. How can Libertarians start a conversation with Med4All supporters so that we can offer a better Liberty4All alternative?
First, what’s good about Med4All? 1. No one would be denied medical care. 2. No one would go bankrupt paying for healthcare. 3. It cuts out middlemen. If all the profits that currently go to the private insurance industry were eliminated, that money could be translated into lower costs for patients and higher incomes for medical professionals. 4. With a universal public healthcare system, businesses would no longer be required to pay for expensive health benefits for their employees and employees would not have to stay at jobs they hate just for the insurance. 5. Insurance bureaucrats would not be able to dictate how medical professionals care for their patients.
These are all great things. How can we offer voters all these advantages while also eliminating some of the disadvantages that come with government-run healthcare?
In a Libertarian public healthcare system: 1. No one would be forced to use it. 2. No one would be forced to pay for other people’s medical care. 3. The system would not encourage people to be irresponsible with their health. 4. Medical procedures would be determined by health professionals together with their patients. No government intrusion on health decisions. 5. The management of the local health system would be checked by a cooperative structure that includes the patients, the community at large, health professionals, and administrators, to prevent corrupt administrators from overcharging for medical services or pushing unnecessary treatments.
A Libertarian alternative to Med4All would not eliminate the private healthcare system. The for-profit healthcare facilities could continue to offer the best level of service that customers can afford, but the free market healthcare system would have to compete with a public healthcare system. A Libertarian alternative would not be funded by taxing everyone and redistributing those funds. Instead, the practice of taxation–for all public programs–should be replaced by charging minimal user fees, taxing that only those likely beneficiaries of public programs, and changing monetary policy with the elimination of debt-based currency and the Federal Reserve.
A diversity of healthcare systems–for-profit, non-profit and public–will ensure robustness and stability, and will allow for a gradual shift to whichever system works best. The first step for the public system would be to expand the Veterans’ Hospital system. All Medicare and Medicaid patients would be required to use this system if they want government subsidize medical benefits. All government employees, including all politicians, would be expected to use this system, and their current employer-provided for-profit health insurance programs would be cancelled. All uninsured patients would be allowed to use this system paying out-of-pocket for all time and materials costs of their treatments.