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Health care and the free market

By       Message Jack Lohman       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments

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Nobody questions that our health care system is broken, but they argue about how to fix it. Let’s get some things straight.

First, politicians prefer “the free market” even though it is the free market that took over in 1994 that has gotten us into today’s mess. They favor “privatization” because, they argue, it “adds competition and controls costs.”

That’s pure hogwash. It doesn’t.

Politicians prefer privatization for one and only one reason: private companies can give campaign contributions and public entities cannot. Just ask those who pocket the money from the insurance and healthcare industries but never get a penny from Medicare.

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Politicians know why they prefer privatization, and you should too. The free market makes them money and Medicare doesn’t.

Health care costs have risen at 5% per year, yet insurance premiums have risen by 87% since 2000. Premiums include not only healthcare costs — which insurers have little control of — but often as much profit as they can add on to help offset losses from Katrina, Rita, Florida, and now, the California fires. It’s another form of cost-shifting to patients’

But in the healthcare market, insurers are unnecessary middlemen that drain nearly one third of our healthcare costs without ever laying hands on the patient. And they are protected by the politicians whose campaigns they help fund.

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We don’t need mandated insurance — as Massachusetts has done and some politicians support – we need mandated health care. W e must totally eliminate the 31% industry waste that is blocking this reform.

Of course, the best way to protect privatized health care is to criticize “government controlled” medicine as being terrible, even when Medicare is the most efficient and popular public-private venture ever. And to call it a budget-buster even when it is the least costly option, or to call it “socialized medicine” even when the hospitals and physicians are the same ones we are using today.

Call it anything, but conflicted politicians won’t call Medicare-for-all the best solution for the country. They always remember where those campaign funds came from, and they are not from the government folks. That’s the way our political system works.

Medicare isn’t perfect, and it clearly must reign in abuse and overuse. But the private system has even more abuse and overuse because the penalties are far less than those at the federal level. Again we can point to lawmakers who are unwilling to buck the industry and fix the system.

Unfortunately our political system has fallen not to the Republicans or Democrats, but to the corporate interests that fund their elections. And that is not going to change in November. 

The only real solution is a complete turnover at the state and national level. We need voter-initiated term limits.

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Lohman is a retired business owner and is author of "Politicians - Owned and Operated by Corporate America" ( and author of

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