Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Separate Healthcare and the State


Anyone who believes that the GOP’s healthcare “reform” plan, which the House of Representatives passed yesterday, is going to solve America’s healthcare crisis is in serious need of a dose of reality. Regardless of what the plan says or does, there will continue to be an ongoing healthcare crisis in America.

There is a simple reason for that: Government involvement in healthcare. The day that the federal government began involving itself in healthcare was the day that the healthcare crisis began. And as long as government involvement in healthcare continues, the healthcare crisis will continue.

That takes us to Medicare and Medicaid. At the time those two socialist programs were enacted in the 1960s, libertarians warned: This will end up destroying the finest healthcare system in history. But people didn’t listen. Like people all over world, especially those in socialist countries, Americans were hell-bent on getting the federal government involved in healthcare.

It’s not a coincidence that the government provides or guarantees healthcare in Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, China, and Vietnam. Government-provided healthcare has always been considered to be a core element of socialist economic systems. The socialist idea is that everyone has a “right” to healthcare and, therefore, the government should provide it.

What’s wrong with socialism? Well, as a practical matter, it produces crises. That’s because it is an inherently defective paradigm. It just doesn’t work, and it will never work. The latest example: Venezuela, where socialism has thrown the entire nation into chaos and crisis.

And it will never work here in the United States. I know I have said this before but it bears repeating: No matter what healthcare reform plan Republicans end up enacting, America’s healthcare crisis will continue. It will be ongoing. It will last the rest of your life, so long as government continues to be involved in healthcare.

There is but one solution to America’s healthcare woes: the separation of healthcare and the state, which necessarily means the repeal, not the reform, of Medicare and Medicaid and all other governmental involvement in healthcare. The solution is a total free market in healthcare, one in which the state plays no role whatsoever.

No more government healthcare programs, mandates, or IRS manipulations. No more occupational licensure laws. No more Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and Trumpcare. Instead, a total free-enterprise system in healthcare.

The United States once had the finest healthcare system in the world. Doctors loved what they did in life. Many of them treated the poor on a purely voluntary basis. No one had healthcare insurance, except perhaps catastrophic insurance, because healthcare prices were so low. There were tremendous advances being made in healthcare on a constant basis.

And then came Medicare and Medicaid. And soaring healthcare costs. And IRS distortion of workplace healthcare insurance. And before all that, medical licensure, which was nothing more than a protection racket to protect the medical profession from competition.

And so here we are today, with an ongoing healthcare crisis. The forever pipedream is that somehow, somewhere, someone will come up with a healthcare reform package that will make it all work. But it will never work. That is because socialism can never work. The only thing that works is freedom and free markets.


This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.