Paul at Ophthalmology Conference: Obamacare Ignores Free Market Principles

Paul at Ophthalmology Conference: Obamacare Ignores Free Market Principles

A free market is a mainstay of American capitalism.

Our entire economy, the envy of developed nations, is built on the concept of a free market. Yet, when it comes to healthcare, for some reason, we have turned our back on this fundamental principle of capitalism.

Paul recently addressed this absurdity when speaking to the American Academy of Ophthalmology conference in Chicago, IL. Despite the obvious strength of our free market principles, the Federal government has been intent on price fixing healthcare procedures. Where supply and demand has always regulated pricing, big government has stepped in, particularly in the form of Medicare, to try and artificially regulate the price of medical procedures. Paul was quick to point out:

“Every time a Washington bureaucrat sets a price, consumers suffer,” he said. “If you set the price of cataract surgery too low — let’s say, free — the demand will be infinite and there will be shortages of cataract surgeons and cataract surgeries. The only way to sort this out is by making patients wait in line.” (Healio)


And this does beg the question: Why? As usual, I will be gracious and assume the efforts are well-intentioned. The Federal government is trying desperately to both control costs and allow for access to healthcare services. But here’s the issue – if you artificially regulate pricing, you either create a shortage of services or shortage of people able to afford quality care.

Paul, rather astutely, draws a parallel between healthcare price fixing and the attempts at market control which helped cripple the economy of Soviet Russia. Now, that might sound a stretch. But bear with me. No one’s trying to compare Obamacare with Soviet totalitarianism. Okay, well maybe someone is. But that is not the point here. The point is that the same well-meaning, but wrongheaded, approach the Soviets took is now being taken by the Federal government in an attempt to provide universal, affordable healthcare. As Paul put it at the ophthalmology conference:

“Though the debate over Obamacare may appear, at times, to be a debate over healthcare, it is really a debate over what type of economic system distributes goods the most efficiently.”

“Which really, when you think about it, is extraordinary that the debate is necessary at all. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, most economists have acknowledged that only when the marketplace determines the price of goods and services can the goods and services be distributed efficiently.”


And that, dear readers, is the crux of the issue. The Federal government, in its attempt to regulate costs, is likely doing far more damage than good. A free market is the best way to provide quality goods and services to the most people possible. For some reason our Federal government has lost sight of that essential principle of American capitalism. Do you find it odd we should treat healthcare as a socialist issue and divorce ourselves from our free market principles? Give us a tweet or let us know by commenting on Facebook.

Written by Mark Davis

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