As the nation continues to stab itself in the gut in a slow motion fiscal suicide attempt, lovers of liberty should not be surprised at any absurdity. What I find most curious about the entire process is how the modern left is completely devoid of any principles. The left could have achieved their cherished goal of an entirely fascist medical system by making its funding a swap for the bloated military budget. This is a variant of the old guns and butter dichotomy. This would have been a much easier sell. In fact, the left could have easily done the following to achieve “universal” coverage. Expand medicaid to include all those who are deemed too poor to afford private insurance, those with preexisting conditions who were rejected by insurance companies, and the unemployed. The program would be paid for on a one-to-one basis via cuts in the military budget. Clinton could have done this in the 90s and Obama today. So, why has this not been done? Simply because the left, for all of its antiwar rhetoric when a republican is in in the white house, loves the warfare state as much as conservatives. Additionally, the healthcare debate is all about buying votes. The politicians have no real concern about fixing the mess of our current medical system. Thus, a nation that is $15 trillion in debt (100% debt/GDP) with at least $100 trillion in net present value of future liabilities (much of which is due to one of the current socialized medical systems* in medicaid) that runs an annual deficit of 8% of GDP, in its infinite wisdom feels the need to pile on even more debt. All while pouring about $1 trillion down the rat hole of the military budget, including the related costs for homeland security. I am sure that all of this will turn out well.
The Ludwig von Mises Institute has put together a list of readings about Obamacare. I have read some, but not all of these articles. As always with such a collection, they are uneven in quality. However, as usual, Hoppe points out the correct solution in his article “A Four-Step Healthcare Solution“. His steps are:
- Eliminate all licensing requirements for medical schools, hospitals, pharmacies, and medical doctors and other health-care personnel.
- Eliminate all government restrictions on the production and sale of pharmaceutical products and medical devices.
- Deregulate the health-insurance industry.
- Eliminate all subsidies to the sick or unhealthy.
This is what I would characterize as the theoretical response.
For a practical response, I have two solutions. The first is to expatriate. The second is to purchase catastrophic insurance with a high deductible. This is the only practical way to have reasonable premiums and an effective way to cover emergencies. For non-emergency medical care, there are the following options.
1. Discover and compare the actual cost of procedures. This will allow you to negotiate to find the best deal.
– MediBid – An online market place to negotiate with doctors.
2. Medical tourism. Excellent and affordable care can be found in Costa Rica, Philippines, Thailand, India, and other countries. Even with airfare and hotel costs, it can still be substantially cheaper to go halfway around the world for many procedures.
– Medical Tourism Magazine – A good starting point to find out about this option.
This is not an exhaustive list of practical responses. However, I hope that for those who do not want to tangle with the IRS, the information listed above will provide a starting point for exploring affordable solutions to the impending mess.
Addendum: Interesting article about medical tourism in Costa Rica with a list of prices for various procedures.
Addendum2: * Medicare for the elderly, veterans, and the medical system on Native American reservations run by the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs).