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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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Faith and the Las Vegas Massacre


The response of hospitals to the Las Vegas massacre confirms what I have been saying for the past 28 years of FFF’s existence: that Americans can trust themselves and freedom and get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and all other governmental involvement in healthcare.

Let’s first ask ourselves an important question: Why do we have Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare?

The answer, the statists tell us, is: Without these socialist programs, there would be countless people, especially poor people, who would go without medical care because they can’t afford it.

One big problem with that argument is that it is Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare that have sent healthcare costs soaring through the roof. Prior to the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, healthcare costs were reasonably priced. In fact, most people didn’t even have major medical insurance. That’s because medical costs were so reasonable, sort of like going to the grocery store. The only medical insurance that people bought was to cover catastrophic illnesses.

The reason we have Obamacare is because Medicare and Medicaid sent healthcare cost soaring through the roof. The reason that statists are called for a complete government takeover of healthcare is because Obamacare has only made the situation worse.

What about the poor before the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s? Doctors and hospitals would provide healthcare services to the poor on a voluntary, charitable basis.

I know this from personal experience. I grew up in Laredo, Texas, which was one of the poorest cities in the United States in the 1950s. Every day, doctors’ offices were filled with patients, many of whom couldn’t pay, and the doctors knew it. I never heard of any doctor turning any patient away for inability to pay. They subsidized free care with the money they were receiving from those who could pay. And Laredo doctors were among the wealthiest people in town.

It was the same with the only hospital in town, Mercy Hospital, which was a Catholic hospital. It often treated people for free and relied on paying customers and voluntary donations to cover the costs of treating the poor for free.

That healthcare system — the free market and voluntary charity — produced the greatest healthcare system in the world, one in  which doctors absolutely loved what they did in life, unlike today when doctors can’t wait to get out and retire.

America’s free-market healthcare system was destroyed by Medicare, Medicaid, and, later, Obamacare. That’s what socialism does. It destroys. It makes people feel dependent on the government. It leads to ever-increasing governmental involvement in people’s lives. It causes people to lose faith in freedom, free markets, and voluntary charity. It induces people to use force and coercion against others.

What is the solution to today’s ongoing, never-ending healthcare crisis? The solution is: Repeal Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. End all governmental involvement in healthcare. Separate healthcare and the state. Establish a total free-market healthcare system, one based on economic liberty and voluntary charity.

If America were to do that, healthcare costs would stop skyrocketing and instead would return to reasonable or ordinary levels.

What about people with preexisting conditions or who are too poor to handle healthcare costs?

That’s where voluntary charity comes into play. There would be plenty of doctors and hospitals who would work with them to ensure that they got treated and were provided with substantial discounts or even free services.

How do I know that? It’s called faith in the free market and in voluntary charity. I can’t prove that everyone would do it. I simply have no doubts that enough doctors and hospitals would do it.

The reaction to the Las Vegas massacre confirms my faith in freedom and free markets. The Las Vegas Sun reports:

On top of various donation drives, University Medical Center, Sunrise Hospital and Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican will assist shooting victims to pay varying amounts of their hospital costs.

“At Dignity Health-St. Rose, our focus remains on the immediate medical and supportive care needs of the injured as well as their long-term healing process,” said Jennifer Cooper, Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican spokeswoman. “St. Rose does not intend to bill or require payment from any patient victims of this tragic event.”

To recoup some of the cost, the medical group will look to other avenues to pay for the shooting victims’ care.

“St. Rose will bill third-party payers (if any) and will be accepting contributions from donors in the community to address the financial and other burdens placed on these patient victims,” Cooper said.

UMC officials said they will work to help those who were uninsured so they will not have a financial burden.

“Because we have had an outpouring of support for our patients, we are closely coordinating uninsured expenses with generous donors,” UMC spokeswoman Danita Cohen said.

That’s not all. Consider this excerpt from an article posted at thedailymeal.com:

Las Vegas-area food trucks have come together to cook and serve free food to Vegas hospital staff at various hospitals working long hours to treat shooting victims from the deadly assault on the Route 91 Harvest festival this past weekend that left 59 concertgoers dead and over 500 injured.

What is needed rid our nation of the scourge of Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and socialized medicine? One thing: faith. Faith in freedom, free markets, and voluntary charity. Faith in ourselves and faith in others. Faith in God and in God’s great gift of free will. Maybe the response to the Las Vegas massacre will help restore such faith within the American people.

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.