The intersection of health insurance and capitalism is producing a “market failure” for the American people. Why would a profitable insurance company ever insure the elderly or sick? The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) guaranteed insurance to everyone, but it still adhered to a free-market plan; it was a positive step, but it isn’t the answer to solve America’s healthcare conundrum. Today, competition has dwindled and the cost of health insurance is skyrocketing. The GOP is pointing to the failures of Obamacare, but its origins are found in a conservative think-tank.
Many who believe in free-market healthcare claim that rather than looking at healthcare as a right, we should look at it as a commodity. The thought is that the market will incentivize competition, which will eventually lessen the cost of healthcare. Proponents of healthcare as a commodity routinely point to the decreasing cost of Lasik Eye Surgery as an example of how healthcare could work with less regulation and more incentives for competition. However, it is an oversimplification to compare Lasik Eye Surgery to a comprehensive healthcare system for the entire United States. The Affordable Care Act has also shown how unbridled capitalism cannot guarantee the production of competition. In fact, history tells us that predatory capitalism can lead to monopolies and the collapse of competition.
Obamacare was a step in the right direction, but it’s time for the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world and offer a single-payer healthcare model to its citizens. The truth about the Affordable Care Act is that the ideology behind it was created in the Heritage Foundation in the 1990’s in order to combat any movement toward a socialized system. Today, we are witnessing how our “free market” healthcare plan isn’t working for the citizenry; it is bankrupting us as a nation. The “free market” cannot create competition in our current healthcare model. This is a costly lesson we are learning with Obamacare because keeping costs down is predicated on the existence of competition.
The time for a single-payer healthcare plan is now, and we should commit to finding representatives who will fight tirelessly to see this become a reality. We can no longer afford to let people suffer and ultimately die because of a broken healthcare system. Making healthcare a right is the only moral and economically responsible way for America to move forward.