One major difference between Libertarian health care and what we have now is under a Libertarian government, individual rights and freedom are preserved. There is no “government licensing” of medical practitioners, instead they are “certified” by a private agency that offers proof that the individual in question is in fact knowledgeable in their field. Additionally, and more importantly, there are various “levels” of practitioners who are certified at various knowledge levels. Also, there would be various levels of health institutions offering various levels of service. Thus, if your needs were simple, you could find someone to take care of your needs for considerably less money than what we’re forced to pay out today for a government licensed practitioner. Nor would there be one standard “hospital” which for many people would offer unnecessary and unneeded services at high cost. Instead the institutions would range from “assisted living” level care all the way up to specialized institutions offering the latest and most advanced services.
In a Libertarian society there are no drug laws, no prescription laws. Nor is there a restriction on medical knowledge or computer software that would allow the individual to take care of many of his or her needs without involving a medical professional. Then if you did need assistance, you would be free to select that individual who you felt would best meet your health care needs. Also, unlike today, you would be free to use experimental procedures and drugs that have not been “authorized” by the government. In a Libertarian society you are free to make such decisions for yourself under the principle of “self ownership”.
“How would health care be financed in a Libertarian society?” you might ask. Today the private insurance industry spends a great deal of money lobbying the federal government to pass laws that considerably benefit the industry, but also tend to make health care much more expensive than it really needs to be. Private health insurance corporations generally pay out 80 cents for every dollar of premiums paid in. Additionally, under “Obamacare” you will be forced to purchase more coverage and “lifetime benefits” that very few people might ever need. Because of this, the cost of private insurance under Obamacare will be much higher than what it would be if people were allowed to make their own decisions. And any “help” that you get from the “government” has to come either from taxes that people pay in, or by running up the “deficit” even further than what it is now!! I think you’ll agree this is a bad deal. Nothing is done to control excessive costs, the operation of the free market is not allowed to control costs. It’s a great deal for the existing health care system, but a big LOSS for every one else! But there are better ways to do this. One really is quite simple: Health Savings accounts using pre-tax money. This does two things. First, there is no “overhead” like the 20% “overhead” that the private health insurance system charges. Plus, the private insurance system pushes its clients to have unnecessary office visits and lab tests based upon the idea that “preventive care” saves money just as regular service to your car might save money. However, human bodies, unlike automobile engines, don’t “wear out” at a consistent rate. Plus, there is a very large variation among people as to the effects of such things as high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. The human body is not a “machine” with predictable rates of “wear”. Plus, if you have high blood pressure, cholesterol, these are easy to treat with modern drugs. Without prescription laws, there is no need to get “permission” from a doctor to go buy these drugs. Actually, insurance is a kind of “gamble” with the insurance company being usually the “winner”. Thus, we need something “different” than health insurance as it exists today. Nor can we trust doctors to make these decisions for us because their interest is “economic” in that the more that they are allowed to do, the more money that they can put into their pockets! For example, a US heart specialist will favor surgery over using drugs to deal with heart problems simply because there is a lot more money to be made doing surgery than writing a prescription. This one reason why Canadian health care costs less than American health care. Our heart doctors do surgery, theirs on the other hand use drugs. Recovery is supposedly faster with surgery than with drugs, but of course the cost is a whole lot higher too.
There is also the issue that what you eat, the level of activity you have also makes a large difference here. Age also makes a big difference. The human body does “wear out” with time. There are no immortals. The only thing medicine can do for you is allow a somewhat longer life span at best. You will eventually die of “something”. The three most common causes of death are heart attack, stroke, and cancer. One of these three will likely be the eventual cause of your death. This is something I feel people should realize. So what should we do? I believe there is a lot of value in the idea of “health savings accounts” using pre-tax income. We could expand on this, establish low cost “drawing accounts” or long term financing at low interest rates. This might be a lower cost “solution” than expensive private health insurance. Medicare for example has an operational overhead of about 5%. So Medicare in effect is 15% more “efficient” than private health insurance is. I believe it is possible to set up a system similar to Medicare, but not government run. One where people can decide for themselves what level of “protection” they feel is worthwhile. As a Libertarian I’m a strong believer in “free choice”, not “government mandates” like Obamacare!
There is also something else to be considered. American health care is the world’s most expensive. However the cost of international travel is low enough today that you don’t really have to get your health care from the American medical system. You could certainly travel to say India for any major operation. The same thing would be true with the purchase of medical drugs. They are cheaper outside the United States. Of course the US medical industry doesn’t like people going elsewhere for medical services, or buying their drugs at lower cost. We do need to take a stand here. Tell the US medical industry to get “competitive”. The rest of American industry has already had to do this. It’s time the “professions” did the same thing!