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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Think Tank Lineup Oct 6 (Health Care)

I am introducing a new feature here at The Humble Libertarian called the "Think Tank Lineup," which as you can imagine, will be a regular round-up consisting of short excerpts from, with links to, articles from the various liberty-oriented think tanks.

Libertarian and conservative think tanks are aptly named, as they are truly the "heavy artillery" of the liberty movement, providing the intellectual and factual firepower our movement needs to combat the waves of disinformation and misunderstanding that sweep regularly over the chattering classes.

As such, I want to feature their work a little more regularly and help you all tap into the great resources they have available in one easy, convenient place. Today's Think Tank Lineup will center on the debate over health insurance / health care reform:

The Mises Institute
Is Emergency Care a Failed Market?

How, then, would truly free-market hospitals handle patients who are now free riders? There is every reason to expect that these uninsured, mostly low-income people would be treated more humanely and with greater dignity than they are in the current quasi-socialist system...

Perhaps the best feature of the free-market process in a libertarian health market is that it would allocate charitable funds to their best use. In our emergency services case, this axiom of market behavior implies that hospitals will spend their charity budgets on the most destitute and impoverished patients.

The Cato Institute
Compulsory Health Insurance Is a Government Takeover

Compulsory health insurance could require nearly 100 million Americans to switch to a more expensive health plan and would therefore violate President Barack Obama's pledge to let people keep their current health insurance. In particular, the legislation before Congress could eliminate many or all health savings account plans. Making health insurance compulsory would also spark an unnecessary fight over abortion and would enable government to ration care to those with private health insurance.

(For more, also check out

The Independent Institute
Obama Goes Postal

Stamp prices have risen much faster than the rate of inflation. In 1950 a first-class stamp cost just three cents. According to the American Institute for Economic Research online inflation calculator, if the cost of a first-class stamp had merely kept up with inflation it would cost 27 cents today—nine times what it cost in 1950—not 44 cents...

The U.S. Postal Service’s problems (not unlike the problems of Medicare and Medicaid) should provide clear warning that the costs of any government health insurance program will balloon, precisely because the government insurance program wouldn’t have to make a profit.

The Acton Institute
Too Much Government Makes Us Sick

While Congress is busy working on health care reform, policy-makers are reluctant to admit that many of our nation’s health problems are linked to practices subsidized by taxpayers. An American diet heavily dependent on corn and corn-derivatives is linked to obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II-Diabetes, constipation, joint pain, and other ailments.

The tragic irony is that government subsidizes the low-cost production of the corn-based, unhealthy foods that make many people sick. Now the Obama administration wants to give these same policy-makers responsibility for our health care.

The Reason Foundation
Would ObamaCare Cover Sticker-Shock Treatment?


  1. I like your idea of a "think tank lineup". The health care costs are going to increase over time, like all the other government programs. And, none of the govt. programs are efficient either. We need to get rid of government waste, not add to it, as I believe Obamacare will. Personally, I think we need to fix medicare, medicaid, social security and welfare first, and then we can modify our health care system. Obamacare would change the very fabric of our health care system, and for the worse. Obamacare must be stopped.

  2. You are absolutely right! HR 3200 and all of the Democrats' other plans in Washington will inflate costs, grow government, and abridge freedoms.

    I would say that health care reform right now is possible and even necessary, but that it involves less, not more regulations.

    If Congress would prevent states from prohibiting their residents to buy insurance across state lines, it would dramatically lower costs.

    Sadly, Washington seems to ignore this easy fix to a very big problem.

  3. I totally agree with you about lifting the ban on crossing state lines to buy insurance. I think there needs to be torte reform, and a clause stating no insurance company can deny you for pre-existing conditions. Plus, a limit on out-of-pocket costs and deductible costs accrding to your income.

  4. I think if we open up the market as much as possible, to as little regulation as possible, what will emerge is a whole "food chain" if you will, of risk/coverage/&cost.

    This is what we have in the credit market for instance, and it allows the individual preferences of people on a free market to determine things, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

    The result would be the most efficient allocation of resources that creates the most value for the most people possible.

  5. I saw a congressman on FNC yesterday, and I regret I don't recall his name who predicted that HR3200 will pass by mid next week!

    I watched two woman doctors on FNC debate possible changes. One had a pretty neat idea for tort reform. She suggested you could buy catastrophic insurance pre-operation just like you can now before you get on a plane. This would cover some of the cost of something going wrong during the operation. I thought that was a pretty neat out of the box idea.

    I also am amazed at why they don't look at the simple changes that would have tremendous effect as allowing health insurance providers to sell across state lines. I've seen mention where there are states where there are total monopolies, generally a branch of Blue Cross / Shield.

    When my wife and I owned our own business that was pretty much our option here in PA. We were 100% self pay. Our premiums went from an affordable $200 a month in the mid 90's to an outrageous $1200 a month in 2005. And there were no options. We could choose a higher deductible, drop maternity etc. One plan that was it. PA Blue Cross drove all the HMO's out of business.

    I'm sick and tired of the Dems saying the Republicans are holding our for the special interest of the insurance industry. So who then is fighting the sale of policies across state lines, and real tort reform? Everyone has someone in their back pocket.

    One last thing. I've been on a doctors care for chronic pain since 2000. I have 2 back surgeries and 1 neck surgery in 2000. My doctor prescribes the necessary pain relief medication that many won't. I travel 40 miles one way to see him. My understanding is if the Public Option would go through, I wouldn't be able to see him, because he is not in my area. I am in enough pain and thank God for my doctor. I am very concerned what will happen if I am forced to change doctors.

    Thank you Wes for your service and thanks to anyone who reads my rant. Dave

  6. Correction to previous post. It should have read:

    And there were no options. We couldn't choose a higher deductible, drop maternity etc. One plan that was it.

  7. Dave, it is people like you who will be very victimized by what Washington is planning for us.

    I will be livid to see you in more pain because of Obama's and Pelosi's hubris.

    Thanks for speaking up here.