My take on universal healthcare in a market economy

Friday, August 07, 2009 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

On a recent news show, a health insurance company advocate insisted that "market principles" will provide the best healthcare solution for all Americans. I wondered how those market principles might best be applied during an era of greed.

I understand the free market principle of earning profits from risks taken in providing goods and services. However, when applying this principle to the healthcare "industry," I see a problem: Some entities, like insurance companies, want to make a lot of money from healthcare, but do not directly provide healthcare goods and services to people.

Yes, they incur a risk in collecting premiums in order to create/maintain a pool of money to pay claims. However, should this enterprise be a source of massive corporate and personal wealth?

Healthcare professionals, manufacturers of life-saving medical equipment, and pharmaceutical makers put more at risk in my view. I would like to see a system where the profit incentive is to provide quality healthcare to all, not simply maximize profits from the currently insured, while ignoring others. Our premiums, and public funds, should pay for wellness and healthcare, not become part of an investment portfolio.

I think this is part of the case for allowing our government to compete with private companies in providing healthcare insurance. Let's move the focus to providing healthcare for all Americans, rather than maintaining a profit center for insurance companies and continuing to ration healthcare by excluding the uninsured.

Just some thoughts....