Free Market Fundamentalist Opinion

Competition Improving Health Care Locally

In Rochester, New York local businesses and health care providers teamed up to improve health standards on their own.

A small health-care success in Rochester, New York. Fox Business reports how local businesses and health-care providers teamed up in the city to improve people’s wellness as well as the affordability and accessibility to health care.

In 2005, a consortium of seven local companies partnered with the Rochester Business Alliance to launch a health-care initiative that tackles health problems with business models and a business mentality.

By calling in efficiency experts from the participating companies, the three largest hospitals in Rochester were expected to have saved a total of more than $24 million in expenses over a period of two years. At the same time reimbursements for physicians were scheduled to increase by up to $20 million, to avert a personnel shortage and let competition both cut costs and improve quality.

Companies that are part of the program encourage their employees to enhance their diets and exercise and stores compete with one another for the title of fittest in their league.

On every level of Rochester’s health initiative, it is competition that drives quality upward. Doctors and hospitals compete for customers while employers have an interest in keeping their workforce healthy and productive.

The experiment in Rochester demonstrates how a free health-care market could work.

Massive government intervention in the health-care industry preceded Obamacare and so distorted market incentives and competition that today, half of all health-care spending in the United States is government spending. It is why America’s health care system is broken and why more government won’t fix it.

In anticipation of the administration’s health-care reform effort, private insurers are already raising premiums. Medicare and Medicaid spending are expected to skyrocket in the next decade. Medicaid alone grew by nearly 10 percent in 2009 as people lost their jobs and with it, their health insurance and because Democrats expanded coverage for children of the working poor.

With tens of millions of Americans dependent on their government for health care and tens of millions more joining their ranks under Obamacare, the entitlement mentality that presumes health care to be a “right” will likely be amplified in the years ahead.

Health care cannot be a right for it requires that others provide it. Doctors should not be forced by law to do their job if they chose not to.

There is little reason to presume that more regulation will fix the problems caused by regulation in the first place. The only viable and the only righteous alternative is to privatize health care entirely. In a free market, patients chose their own doctor and doctors chose their patients. Without the interference of any regulator, patients will be able to receive the best care their money can buy, with the doctor’s voluntary consent. It might leave millions irresponsible and uninsured but without government coercion, health care can be affordable.