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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Healthcare Socialism Is Healthcare Quackery


For the past eight years, conservatives made repealing Obamacare their mantra. Conservative commentators made it the primary theme of their op-eds. Conservative politicians made it the theme of their political campaigns. Conservative educational foundations and think tanks made it the subject of their fund-raising campaigns.

The whole thing was always ridiculous.

For one thing, it was all talk. Once Republicans gained control over both houses of Congress and the presidency, conservatives ran for cover. Repealing Obamacare was good for garnering attention, money, and votes, but once conservatives were actually faced with following through with their “Repeal Obamacare” mantra, they threw in the towel, just as they did many decades ago with respect to the entire welfare-state system.

More important, as I have pointed out for the last 8 years, it wouldn’t have done any good to repeal Obamacare anyway. That’s because there was a big healthcare crisis that preceded Obamacare, one entailing ever-soaring healthcare costs that many people simply could not afford. That’s why Democrats enacted Obamacare — to address the healthcare crisis that preceded Obamacare.

So, sure, conservative critiques of Obamacare were well-founded. But big deal! It’s always easy to find faults and failures of socialist and interventionist programs and point them out.

What conservatives simply would not face is: What good would it do to repeal Obamacare? Wouldn’t that simply leave the healthcare crisis that precipitated Obamacare intact? What then?

Conservatives would never answer those questions because they never really thought that Obamacare would really be repealed or that they would be faced with the opportunity to repeal it. They figured that their repealing Obamacare mantra would simply be a perpetual way to garner attention, donations, and votes.

Ludwig von Mises pointed out that interventionism always leads to more interventionism? Why? Because interventionism always produces crises, which then motivate people to call for more interventionism to fix the crisis arising from the previous interventions. Ultimately, the increasing array of interventions leads to a full-fledged socialist system in that part of society.

Healthcare provides a perfect demonstration of this phenomenon.

The United States once had the finest healthcare system in history, one based on free-market principles. Healthcare was reasonably priced. In fact, most people didn’t even have major medical insurance. At most, they had a catastrophic healthcare policy, which was intended to cover big, expensive illnesses, like cancer. Doctors loved what they did in life, and made a lot of money. In turn many doctors provided free or subsidized healthcare to the poor. America led the world in healthcare advances.

That all came to an end with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, two massive federal interventions into healthcare. That’s why healthcare costs started soaring. But rather than repeal the interventions, federal officials doubled down with more interventions, which only made the healthcare crisis worse, which then produced more interventions. That’s how we ultimately ended up with Obamacare.

Of course, people were assured that each new intervention would resolve the ever-growing healthcare crisis. But the healthcare crisis has never ended. It has only gotten worse with each new intervention.

Obamacare is no exception. President Trump is right. It’s going to continue to be a growing disaster. Contrary to what the left and the mainstream media are claiming, the disaster won’t be because Trump didn’t cooperate to make it a success. It’s going to be a disaster because interventionism is a disaster.

Not surprisingly, we now have self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders now calling for a new intervention — Medicare for everyone. That’s what Mises was talking about — how each new intervention leads to crises and chaos, which then motivate people to call for more interventions. The crisis arising from Obamacare is what is motivating Sanders and his fellow socialists to call for an even more drastic intervention.

And make no mistake about it: If Sanders gets his way, that will not be the end of it. Medicare for everyone will produce the same disaster that the original Medicare and Obamacare have produced. The end of this road, as Mises pointed out, is full-fledged healthcare socialism, owned and operated by the federal government, just like in Cuba and North Korea.

Healthcare interventionism and healthcare socialism are nothing more than healthcare quackery. They are only going to make America sicker. It’s time for radical surgery. It’s time to excise the cancer on the American body politic by repealing, not reforming, Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, and every other governmental intervention into healthcare.  The way to achieve a healthy society is to restore a free-market healthcare system to our land, one involving a total separation of healthcare and the state.

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.