Huffpost Politics

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Stephen Herrington Headshot

Why Republicans Should Back Health Care Cost Remedies

Posted: Updated:

Even if you are a Free Market Capitalist, there are reasons that you should back a reprieve in rising health care costs. As a Free Marketer, you should know that the political prospects for overturning socialization of risks and costs in health (Medicare and Medicaid), financial hardship (Social Security) and Veterans benefits (VA and pensions), is not politically achievable.

Socialization of risk, a risk pool, is the very business model of private insurance for profit. Government is simply the largest risk pool of all. Government can deliver economies of scale and risk distribution of which a for profit enterprise can only dream. Why join a pool of a few tens of millions when you can share the economies of distributing risk and cost with 300 million?

Whether a risk pool is a function of government or of private enterprise is not even an issue, at this point, if your stated goal of small government is to be taken as sincere. Medicare and Medicaid costs will continue to grow if not controlled, necessarily expanding the demands by government for ever increasing taxes to match ever increasing costs, costs driven by private enterprise itself.

Over the years, Republicans have attributed rising health care cost to the insulating effects for consumers of single payer systems such as Medicare or even private insurance. Since health care has become an effective monopoly, no sensible person can buy this mythology that the free market will solve rising costs if the insurance companies and government get out of the way. For one thing, the only means for the public to resist a monopoly that is through government. But even more fundamentally, medicine is not a commodity. Doctors and hospitals are more rare than grocery stores and cans of beans. You can't, realistically, shop for your cancer cure or your emergency room. There are not enough sources and there is not enough information on the side of the construction worker who does not know the difference between a gal bladder and an aneurysm. Hint: you are supposed to have one and not the other.

Do nothing now, and government will demand more and more money to meet the profit demands of the medical industry. If, in the most craven of political calculations, you assume that ever-higher taxes to cover Medicare will break Medicare and allow your ultimate goal of destroying it, you must also consider that the ever increasing cost to the non-Medicare consumer will drive the public to the opposite political end. While you try and break government, the public will be placed under intolerable burdens by the private enterprises you promote. Actually, craven is too polite a word. Citizens will die to further your political ambition to privatize what is, quite sensibly, better socialized.

On their current track of increases, health care costs will double every 6-7 years. Double. Can health care grow from 17% of GDP to 34% in seven years without consequences? Consequences?

GOP, you risk more than you can possibly gain. You let this behemoth devour as much of the wealth of this country as can be sustained and more, by and through an ideology that turned a blind eye to hideous exploitation of the public by private interests at odds with the public good. It is not only inhumane, it is destructive of the country that has been the hope and home of free enterprise. To let this go on is stupidity of the worst order and proves Marx to have been the harbinger of your future.

And if you truly value your liberty as you lament, do you not find no difference in subjugation to a crown, a government or a business?