Free Market” is a summary term for an array of exchanges that take place in society. Each exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people … These two individuals exchange two economic goods, either tangible commodities or nontangible services. This market is “free” because choices, at each step, are made freely and voluntarily. But exchanges are not necessarily free. Government, in every society, is the only lawful system of coercion. If a robber threatens you with, “Your money or your life,” your payment to him is coerced and not voluntary, and he benefits at your expense.
In applying these principles to health care, how can a victim turn down services? If free markets are “free” from coercion, than how can insurance companies offer extremely high premiums to someone who needs treatment for a preexisting condition? Buy our insurance or go without proper treatment and care? That is coercion, not free market. It’s at this point that free market advocates fall back on government.
The theory of the free market falls flat because it depends on the government. Even the latest health care proposal from the Republicans set up a government pool for high risk individuals, so the “free market” could continue to be profitable. These are devestated individuals the “fee market” turned away. They weren’t profitable customers. It would be fair to say that without the government safety net, the free market ideal fails. The end result, in a free market society with people suffering catastrophic illnesses, is death. Go free market!
At yobserver.com, Georgie Anne Geyer wrote this:
The free market is wonderful for things that have alternatives. If you don't like Burger King you can go to McDonalds, if you don't like Wal-Mart you can go to Target, if you don't like apples you can each oranges. But for the things that we would have a hard time living without like water, electricity and health care, the free market sucks. That's why we see so much governmental regulation when it comes to water and electricity. Because when a company like Enron causes rolling
blackouts in the state of California, people could get seriously hurt.
Whenever you put human beings in charge of something, you can expect them to screw it up. That's just the way things are. If there are options, that's fine. I'll just go somewhere else. But if I have cancer, and an insurance company screws me, then I don't have any other options. There is no alternative for me. I'm as much a free-market capitalist as anyone else, but we really need to take health-care out of the hands of the free market.