OPINION: Free Markets Would Make Healthcare More Affordable

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was created over eight years ago in March of 2010 and was modified in early 2014 to create develop into what people know today as “Obamacare.” Since its inception, however, the healthcare market in the United States has turned into a swamp of confusion, low-quality care, and debt. Here is why the United States government should unilaterally remove itself from the healthcare system so that free market principles can improve the quality of the care while resulting in lower costs for all.

In order to dive into the discussion of healthcare, it’s worth mentioning the three aspects that healthcare relies on. The first is the actual quality of the healthcare itself—for example, how long are wait times? Are there good developments in recent years to help cure certain diseases? The second aspect is the cost; this seems rather obvious. The third and final is the universality of healthcare; how many people can actually get it?

No realistic healthcare system can have all three of the aspects mentioned above. Obamacare, for example, only has one of the three, in that it is universal because everyone has it. The problem with Obamacare, though, is that it is neither affordable or of good quality. Since 2013, individual premiums have increased by 99 percent and family premiums have skyrocketed 140 percent under the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that Obamacare, and its flaws, will add over 1.3 trillion dollars to the federal debt.

Democrats were incredibly smart when they decided to make the government in charge of paying for healthcare for two reasons; number one, it was a good character win for them from a political standpoint. Secondly, they knew that if Republicans were to try and remove the government’s role in healthcare, Democrats could use character attacks to blame Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for being “inhumane” or “uncompassionate” about healthcare policy, even if they were actually just unhappy with the amount of money being poured into federally-funded healthcare programs.

Democrats haven’t stopped there, though. Senator Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) Medicare for All plan would add approximately $32.6 trillion to the federal debt, doubling it in its entirety, and that’s by the lowest of estimates.

The solution? A free market, open competition healthcare system by privatizing healthcare. Government removal from the healthcare system would actually encompass two of the three aspects of healthcare in the United States. A free market system would result in much lower costs for products, as sellers want to lower the price of their goods would lead to other sellers to compete with costs. A free market created the incentive for more innovation, as competitors in the market treat money as a motivational factor to create newer, more effective products. This, in turn, leads to better creation in medicine, technology, and science.

Healthcare is not a right. Access to healthcare, on the other hand, is. Everyone has a right to have the opportunity to purchase healthcare, but it is not a right to suggest that an individual is entitled to the services of someone else, whether that be through government compulsion or not.

Treating healthcare as a service instead of a right would result in drastically lower prices while giving people the best care available, and that starts with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.