Obama's Medical Monopoly

If there's anything worse than a private-sector monopoly, it's a government-run monopoly. The difference is that in the private sector, everyone is free to compete and remove the monopolist's monopoly status, while a government monopoly forbids competition and compels the citizenry to patronize its operation. It is still illegal, for example, to start a business competing with the United States Postal Service, as 19th-century American individualist and entrepreneur Lysander Spooner learned.

Right now, insurance companies already have a virtual monopoly with the help of government-imposed regulations that make it impossible for entrepreneurs to get in the act. Doctors have a virtual monopoly by state licensing and their power to restrict entry into the field to accredited medical schools. The result of this government-protected virtual monopoly is fewer consumer choices in insurance companies, fewer medical schools and doctors, and the protection of doctors' high salaries, as well as reduced quality of health care. All of these factors show up in any monopolized industry.

When government runs an industry, criminalizes competition, and compels citizens to patronize only the government's shifty organization, it is a "compulsory monopoly." As economist Murray Rothbard notes, "A governmental monopoly need not worry that customers may go elsewhere or that inefficiency may mean its demise."

If we removed all those regulations, restrictions, and intrusions that distort consumers' natural ability to dictate costs, prices would fall dramatically.

Unfortunately, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi want to go the other way. With all the mandates and dictates in their proposals, the citizens will be compelled to participate. The proposed scheme will force private insurance companies out of business, regardless of politicians' rhetoric to the contrary, and it will force doctors to participate in the scheme or not be allowed to practice. It will eventually engender a government-run medical industry.

We will see more government intrusion in our lives, less freedom, and lower quality of medical care. The more skilled doctors who don't want to be slaves of the state will leave the practice, and those who do not value their independence or doctor-patient confidentiality will join. As with any other government-run agency, decisions made on our health-care matters will be political, and all providers of all medical services will be government employees. It is not an exaggeration to assert that Obama's desires are not much different from those of communist regimes.

The virtual monopoly that doctors and insurance companies have will be transformed into a legally mandated monopoly, with no way for citizens to opt out of the system.

Besides the impracticalities of a compulsory medical monopoly, as indicated by all the historical evidence from the U.K., Canada and the old Soviet Union (as well as from our own country's Medicare program), there are basic human rights questions. If the government takes over the medical industry, what if someone wants to be a private doctor, or have an independent insurance company, or get medical care from a non-government doctor?

What if someone doesn't buy health insurance, as will be demanded by the new plan? A blunt translation of this legislation would have proponents declaring, "You must participate in this scheme whether you like it or not, or we'll send the IRS after you or imprison you."

Quite the uncivil way to let people know you care about their health.

If private citizens forced their neighbors to join in some scheme or else get thrown in a cage or get robbed, such schemers would be thrown in jail.

Just what is it about these public officials that makes them so demanding and dictatorial? Their control-freakishness is getting quite counterproductive...even dangerous.

One of our rights as citizens is to opt out of this kind of government scheme without threats of brute force. In the America our Founders created, we had the right to opt out of even health insurance, and whether or not we had insurance was none of the government's business.

It's called freedom.

As with any other industry that government has tampered with, state interference in the health care industry for many years has caused all the problems the industry has now. Get the government out of it. Allow the free market to work, and it will work...if given the chance.