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Patriotic Millionaire: There’s No ‘Free Market’ Solution to Health Care

| July 22, 2017

free market health care poverty

Compare and shop. (Cynthia Bors)

By Geoff Coventry

The Republicans have big plans for health care in this country: to eliminate coverage for millions of Americans while delivering a big tax cut to the rich.

As someone who stands to benefit from that tax cut, let me just say: I don’t need it, and I don’t want it. No tax cut is worth excluding millions of Americans from the health services they need.

Any new health care legislation should be focused on providing the best available health services for all Americans, not deliberately putting them out of reach. And yet, this is exactly what the twin monstrosities that came out of the House and Senate would have done.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House bill would’ve left 23 million Americans uncovered by 2026. The Senate version was only a shade better, leaving 22 million people out. Those bills were nonstarters with the public — the party was forced to pull them, along with any immediate plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

other-wordsThis Republican-majority Congress has shown their cards: They favor less coverage for workers and the elderly and lower taxes for the wealthy.

Republicans in both chambers claim they’re doing this to support “freedom” and “choice” for the American people. They say the “free market” is the only way to provide Americans with access to affordable health care. They claim deregulation will help drive down health costs.

Well, for starters, so-called “free markets” are unicorns — fanciful creatures with magical powers that don’t exist in the real world. All markets are designed; they don’t emerge spontaneously from nature. We form, structure, regulate, and enforce markets through policy and institutions which reflect private and public interests.

When it comes to health care, we’re talking about something closer to a “natural monopoly” like electricity, not an industry like autos or breakfast cereals. Everyone needs basic medical services on a regular basis, and we need to make sure the same quality is available to everyone — even in hard to reach or low-income areas.

This will always require some form of direct government funding of services, especially with respect to primary care. Failing to do so means we’re not serious about the goal of quality care for all Americans.

This doesn’t necessarily mean an entirely government-run system — there’s plenty of room for private medical practices and businesses to provide the spectrum of services we need. But it does mean some degree of public funding is essential.

ocd flaglerliveA fully privatized system can never adequately provision the nation. Rural communities don’t have adequate medical facilities and staff. Underdeveloped urban communities suffer from the same lack of basic resources, and their residents often don’t have the ability or time to travel to other locations.

Republican leaders claim they want affordable access to quality health care for all Americans, but all of their proposals have focused on lowering taxes on businesses and the rich, regardless of the very real cost in terms of human life.

It’s a false choice, and the effects will be cruel.

A healthy nation is a prosperous nation. This is primarily a challenge of real resources and the distribution of those resources, not of money. Congress can and should authorize any necessary funding to achieve the stated public goal simply by appropriating the funds.

This includes designing a system that will ensure there are enough facilities, doctors, nurses, specialists, transportation systems, and all the other elements of quality care in close proximity to all who need it — at any level of need and ability to pay.

Members of the House and Senate were put there by the voters and have an obligation to fight for and protect all of their constituents, not just the ones wealthy enough to bankroll their campaigns.

Geoff Coventry is a member of the Patriotic Millionaires and a founder and principal of Tradewind Energy, Inc. 

26 Responses for “Patriotic Millionaire: There’s No ‘Free Market’ Solution to Health Care”

  1. Had enough? says:

    Plus the Affordable Care Act focuses on prevention with mandated minimum requirements. It’s well documented that if diseases are caught early, costs are less to treat with better long term outcomes.

    Why not lower the eligibility age for Medicare?It puts more healthy people in that system. I’d gladly take the deal those guys are getting, rather than my $400+ per month, $10,000.00 deductible. No, that’s not a typo. and it’s not an Obamacare plan. Thanks, Gov. Scott and the Republicans.

  2. Fredrick says:

    “Any new health care legislation should be focused on providing the best available health services for all Americans, not deliberately putting them out of reach.”

    You need to be honest and clear with that statement. You will be providing “equal” care to all and not providing the “best” care to anyone. Long lines, long waits, denied treatments, nothing but mediocre care. No one has said life is fair. It’s not supposed to be. Being fair stifles creativity and new ideas. Yes that applies to medicine too. Are you willing to accept that? Well yes of course you can accept it. You can afford it…. The only way I can afford it is to have insurance which I pay and work for. You are promoting taking away the ability of the middle class to get the “best” care while still paying even more money for worse care. .The government can’t even run the post office to break even. Why would we want them screwing with healthcare?

  3. Sw says:

    Good article, conceptually I agree but once the elected officials get to Washington the poisoning begins.

  4. Smarterthanmost says:

    Healthcare will never be “equal” to everyone. When a significant portion of the population pays no federal income tax, exactly who is funding this debacle. A single payer system will not work when only half the population is contributing.

  5. snapperhead says:

    Every other OECD country has figured out how to provide universal coverage expect Murica.And they do it for about half the cost. By most measures the OECD countries have BETTER results. So we pay twice as much and getting inferior results. But hey we can thump our increasing larger, fatter chests and say we’ve got freedom and choice…LMAO…Murica!

  6. Pogo says:


    Well said. Great again:

    countries ranked by health outcomes

    trump’s base bleats about who pays with the same old crap about “who pays taxes” as if everything derives from the federal income tax. It’s not nearly that simple. The working poor (even the “worthless” destitute pay sales and other taxes) pay plenty of taxes besides the income tax.

    And they pay plenty of income tax to Washington too. trump’s base calls that money a refund. The government got the money first – drop by drop.

    Who really cheats on their taxes? The IRS, all tax collectors, and tax cheats know:

    annual cost of tax evasion in us

  7. Sherry says:

    Where is the “Better, Cheaper Healthcare for ALL Citizens” PROMISED for 7 years by the Republicans? They have majorities in the House and Senate AND the power of the presidency. . . yet, ALL their last minute, “thrown together” plans are NOT “better and cheaper”. . . . and they certainly don’t cover ALL Americans!

    What a complete FIASCO. . . created by the Republicans!

  8. Mark says:

    I, for one, don’t need to be told what health care coverage I must buy. And I don’t need to pay a “tax”, which is really a fine, for not buying what is mandated.Just because you are a “patriotic millionaire” doesn’t make you an expert on how I should handle my health care options. Nor is my health care related to other countries. I live in America not England or Canada. What is good for them is not necessarily good for us or me. And I am guessing you earned your millions parlaying unicorns. You can always put you millions where your mouth is and donate directly to those in need or give more to the government to waste. As much as I dislike professional politicians I think many are trying to do the right thing while others are stuck on their must have ideas to ensure their reelection and continued position of rule. While a healthy nation is a prosperous nation and prosperous nation can be a healthy nation when compassion is the rule. Not a handout, compassion! By all, left and right. Want to stop influence then impose term limits and cap donations. Cap campaign expenditures. Want to make health care great, make politicians live under the same system as us low-lifes. Stop ridiculous law suits. Have doctors do pro bono care like lawyers. Reward compassion with a free round of golf or student loan reductions for medical students. Limit the square feet a star or rich person can live in, tax the crap out of movie profits and professional athlete pay. There is nothing out of reach in this country if you are willing to work for it. How many of those 22 -33 million Americans don’t want health care? Stay out of my life. Quit telling me I need to do this to get that. Quit telling me if I don’t sign some piece of paper I won’t receive services. Quit telling me my grass is to tall or I can’t put my garbage can on the curb until 6PM the day before pickup. Quit telling me I can’t fish without a license when I am trying to feed my family. Why don’t you millionaires buy a grocery store and sell your wares at a discount to us po people? Otherwise, shut the f*&k up!

  9. RickG says:

    Very good piece. The only solution to rising health insurance costs is a Public Option. Put that in the health care bills then you got something.

  10. Steve in Flagler Beach says:

    I am very disappointed that this healthcare mess has not been resolved. But before you jump too fast… Help me and the rest of America understand how it is that upwards of 24 million people with be “WITHOUT INSURANCE” when only 8+million people ever signed up for Obamacare?

    The best thing would be for the GOVERNMENT to GET OUT of the insurance industry. I would like to see us “reset” to how the landscape looked and worked exactly 10 years ago. Then move forward from there with new plans.

    I am not a proponent of our country becoming a SOCIALIST STATE.

  11. Bill says:

    As long as the government is going to run 1/3 of the economy – why don’t they start with a very basic premise….price gouging is illegal. You can’t charge $8 for a bottle of water during a natural disaster, nor can you double the price of electricity during a heat wave…but we accept hospitals charging $100 for an aspirin or a GP billing $250 for a 15 minute office visit…fix that, which is the larger problem and coverage becomes much more affordable for the entire population. The root problem is that will never happen because special interests groups will not allow it – much like the Military Industrial Complex that Eisenhower warned about decades ago – we looked the other way, while the Medical Industrial Complex took over our world.

  12. Mark101 says:

    I’m pretty sick of everything the Republicans attempt to do always has that caveat and that is, keep the rich rich and provide the rich the tax breaks while bastardizing the hard working middle class to pay for everything. Its time for the rich to pay up

  13. John dolan says:

    This plan gives a taxpayer bailout to the health insurance companies who only make billions in profits every year. Does letting bean counters decide what treatment you should get be right?

  14. another vet says:

    anyone who thinks government run health care works hasnt looked at England

  15. another vet says:

    PS if the Obomacare is so great why doesnt congress use it

  16. Alphonso Zeimers says:

    Normally you are to liberal for my tastes but this article was right on the money.
    The politicians on both sides are just crooks looking to pad their own pockets.
    I don’t understand why individuals of good faith concerned with the populace
    can’t generate a bill that makes sense.

  17. Lou says:

    Every other major developed country have lower cost medical system covering their population.
    What is WRONG WITH US ?

  18. Ws says:

    I say let all the ignorant people keep their precious Obamacare they want so badly. Leave it alone and let the program sink once and for all. It was destined to fail when it began but since so many ignorant people still don’t understand then just leave it alone and let it sink on its own. What a bunch of nonsense

  19. Hopeful says:

    Trump will fix it. He said that health care is easy.

  20. Dee Kieffe says:

    The U.S. is dragging in a race to provide socialized medical care for all citizens of the U.S. There is no resin. in the world to reduce health care benefits patients receive now. As those health care plans limit a lot of the care that could trust help peoole. To offer Senators, Congresssmen and such FREE COVERAGE,and take benefits away from seniors, it doesn’t take a Harvard or Stanford Graduate to see how wrong this is.
    Taking pre existing medical issues out of the new program , would require all not to sign and to voluntary resign their positions. Seniors on Medicare are going to have pre existing conditiins. With will over 200,000 people in the US suffering complications from Mesh Implants, are they to lose continued care.
    Perhaps something like a concentration camps will be set up to exterminate all of us with preexisting health care problems. Many that have been injured through a faulty system in Waahington at the F.D.A. level.
    And as Washington continues to have their palms greased by Big Pharmaceutical Companies and Manufactures of Faulty Medical Equipment. Medicare ,or be it Medicare for some, needs to be covered to a Standardized Socialized Medical Plan where all citizens have the same benefits, which include dental, hearing, psychological counseling, physical therapy , not keeping the counseling and therapy only for person with big purse strings. If the other countries can do thus and do it will , why can t the U.S. then doctors can go back to practicing medicine and not have to concern this selfsel with the Washington plan.

  21. Dee Kieffet says:

    when people are left without adequate insurance coverage they do not seej treatment except in emergency situations where it cost more and takes more care to get them back to the strongest health situation they can be. Therefore being uninsured and inderinsured, people put off seeking treatment for health conditions that possible could have been treated before reaching a state of requiring expensive treatment. We don’t wait for a airplane to crash before it is inspected , repaired and cleared , the same principles need to apply to people.
    And someone explain for me why their is only funds for dental care in Dade County Fl,with over a years wait.Thar is word out of Tallahasssee . Yes children can receive assistance for dental care , why is it not just as important for adults. Why should seniors not have waiting aids covered. They drive and without a hearing aid maybe they won’t hear that siren and move over. Or that car zooming up switching lanes. Stop treating people by age groups or insuring them that way. A senior might cost more medically than a 30 year old. But there are no pregnancies, no childcare, Were all human and deserve quality health care.

  22. Dee Kieffet says:

    Trump waits for pharmaceutical giants to dictate what they want , anyone who reads knows many medical devices are being recalled , lawsuits against xyz companies on xyz medications harming patients .
    we can not afford to fast track medications, it endangers healthcare.

  23. MannyHM says:

    After reading about health care coverage here in the U.S. and other countries, that of Taiwan is truly worth considering and emulating. Their consideration are access for all and social justice.

  24. Pogo says:

    @FL Readers and Republicans too

    epidemiology (why stupidity is so contagious)

    If results matter:

    countries ranked by health outcomes

    Keep “the government” out of health care?

    “…No single institution trains more doctors or nurses than VA. More than 70 percent of all U.S. doctors have received training at VA. Each year, VA trains, educates and provides practical experience for 62,000 medical students and residents, 23,000 nurses and 33,000 trainees in other health fields — people who go on to provide health care not just to veterans but to most Americans…”

    Wake up – and think.

  25. Sherry says:

    The USA is ranked “37th” in quality of health care . . . even BEHIND other countries with a lower standard of living and GDP. And, the Republicans want to take us back to an even worse situation. There’s something drastically wrong with this picture! Health care must be recognized as VITAL to every human being! It must be NATIONWIDE! Having coverage vary from state to state is ludicrous! It would completely “hamstring” our FREEDOM to live and travel where ever we want in our own country!
    Taking “our” voice and opinion (AKA government) OUT of our healthcare system, and turning that complete control over to GREEDY Private Sector, for Profit “Capitalists” is insanity!

    World Health Organization Ranking; The World’s Health Systems
    1 France
    2 Italy
    3 San Marino
    4 Andorra
    5 Malta
    6 Singapore
    7 Spain
    8 Oman
    9 Austria
    10 Japan
    11 Norway
    12 Portugal
    13 Monaco
    14 Greece
    15 Iceland
    16 Luxembourg
    17 Netherlands
    18 United Kingdom
    19 Ireland
    20 Switzerland
    21 Belgium
    22 Colombia
    23 Sweden
    24 Cyprus
    25 Germany
    26 Saudi Arabia
    27 United Arab Emirates
    28 Israel
    29 Morocco
    30 Canada
    31 Finland
    32 Australia
    33 Chile
    34 Denmark
    35 Dominica
    36 Costa Rica
    37 USA
    38 Slovenia
    39 Cuba
    40 Brunei

  26. w.ryan says:

    What a gas! All these sorry,ignorant fools that do the double talk. I don’t want this socialist crap???Stop watching Fox News!!!

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