As a strong proponent of free market economics, I have long wondered why free markets don’t seem to be operating in the health care industry. Today, it finally hit me with great clarity, and I’ll share that with you here. But first, a primer on free market economics:
As the free market theory says, “greed is good” because innovators can only get rich by figuring out how to deliver more goods, services and life improvements to consumers who purchase those items. The genius who figures out how to build a better car — or a less expensive car of the same quality — earns the business of consumers and is financially rewarded as a result. Greed drives innovation, the theory goes, and innovation benefits consumers even as it fills the pockets of corporate CEOs, too.
This model works under one critical assumption, and it turns out that assumption is not true in health care today (for reasons you’ll see below). Which assumption is it? That consumers will rationally purchase only those things that are in their own self interest (things that benefit them) and, equally importantly, that consumers have access to the information they need to make an informed decision.
So, for example, if a solar panel manufacturer figures out a way to make a new line of solar panels with twice the current efficiency at the same cost as current solar panels, consumers will rationally choose to purchase those solar panels and will experience a benefit as a result (but only if they have access to accurate information about the improved performance of those solar panels). The CEO who runs the company that figured out how to make the new, improved solar panels will also reap the financial rewards at the same time.
This is called free market theory in a nutshell.
How it all fell apart in health care
But all this falls apart when corporations are selling products that harm consumers under an irrational system protected by government intervention. Many pharmaceuticals, vaccines and treatment services (such as chemotherapy) actually harm consumers far more than they help them. Knowing this, no rational consumer would choose to purchase such products. So the health care system must engage in some rather devious marketing distortions to cajole people into buying their faulty products:
#1) People are TRICKED into thinking they need these products that harm them. This is accomplished through disease mongering (pushing fabricated diseases such as ADHD), emotional advertising and bribing physicians in order to influence their drug prescribing behavior.
#2) People are LIED TO about the risks of using such products. Drug companies, in particular, routinely lie to consumers by burying negative clinical trials, bribing researchers to produce positive study results, exaggerating claimed benefits in television advertisements and other similar methods.
#3) People are ISOLATED from information they need to know in order to make a rational decision about conventional medicine’s products. They are not allowed to know the truth about the dangers of drugs as revealed in clinical trials, for example. The FDA even conspires with drug companies to hide this relevant data.
#4) People are FORCED into a monopolistic choice by the government outlawing alternative choices such as natural cancer remedies or certain nutritional supplements. Once again, the FDA plays a key role in discrediting natural alternatives. The health insurance industry also enforces this monopolistic approach by covering conventional sick-care therapies (such as heart bypass surgery) while not covering natural therapies that help prevent degenerative disease.
#5) People are KEPT IGNORANT of the actual costs of health care through Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance coverage. Consumers have no idea what they’re being billed for most medical procedures because they’re not footing the bill! So hospitals, clinics and cancer centers bill whatever amount they can get away with.
Why this recipe works for the sick care industry
Remarkably, this recipe of deception has achieved tremendous success, creating a trillion-dollar global market in bad medicine largely based on quack science combined with manipulative marketing.
Of course, it’s not really a free market to begin with. This market is a protected, monopolistic market that’s propped up through government regulatory action designed to eliminate competition. It only exists under the illusion of a free market, where consumers think they’re making a “free choice” about what drugs to take, not knowing they have another option to avoid taking those drugs altogether and do something completely different to protect their health.
Government intervention harms consumers
One conclusion from all this is that when the government gets involved in protecting one particular industry while allowing “greed” to run its course inside that protected industry, the result quickly becomes harmful to consumers even while corporate CEOs (in Big Pharma) accumulate wealth. We see this in Wall Street as much as we do in health care… notice how the trillion-dollar bailouts all went to the wealthiest money criminals even while debasing the currency held by the working masses?
On the Big Pharma side of things, rather than creating better and more innovative products, these companies are in the business of marketing disease first, followed by introducing a chemical pill designed to treat that disease. This is precisely the story behind restless legs syndrome, for example, or the recent push to use drugs to control your uric acid levels.
When governments interfere with free market economics, they inevitably create an unfair playing field that favors one group of companies over another, and that favoritism will always result in financial exploitation that inevitably harms consumers.
The best way out of this would be to deregulate all health care and end the monopoly on medicine currently granted to Big Pharma (and even doctors at the state level). By allowing all providers of health services and health products to compete on a level playing field, without government favoritism, selection or censorship, consumers would quickly learn which products or services work best to protect their health, and they would rapidly shift their purchasing behavior in that direction.
This would cause a windfall of profits in the realm of natural health and alternative medicine, by the way, even while sharply reducing the profits of Big Pharma and the sick-care industry (because it produces virtually no positive results). In fact, this is precisely why the government is not pursuing a free-market approach to health care right now: Because to allow consumers a truly free choice about how to treat their own health would spell the end of some of the wealthiest corporations in the world — the drug companies whose very existence depends on ignorance, deception and scientific fraud.
Conventional medicine must force consumers to use it!
This is why the FDA continues to censor the truth about nutritional supplements, by the way. It’s the reason why Medicare won’t cover Traditional Chinese Medicine or homeopathy treatments. This is why the AMA has waged a 100-year war on the chiropractic industry. Conventional medicine works so poorly and is such a total failure in terms of its results that it has to force consumers to use it. Sometimes at gunpoint! (With the forced chemotherapy treatment of teens, for example.)
No other system of medicine in the world is such a total failure that a government has to force its own citizens to use it through a campaign of disinformation, monopolistic controls and active censorship of alternatives.
Today, Americans think they live in a free country. But most do not realize their entire health care system is structured in direct opposition to free markets and free choice. The sick-care industry can’t afford for you to have a free choice, because to do so would destroy their entire business model.
Opting out of sickness and into health
You can, of course, opt out of the entire system as I have done. I spend exactly $0 on health insurance, doctor visits and health care. With all the money I save by not writing checks to a system of failed quack medicine, I instead buy superfoods, nutritional supplements, gym memberships and organic fresh produce that I juice and drink every day. This level of personal health commitment combined with true freedom of choice terrifies both the government and the sick care industry which is precisely why Obamacare mandated that all Americans must buy sick-care insurance or be fined by the IRS.
Think about it: If conventional health care really worked, would they have to send IRS agents after people to force them to buy into it? This is “gunpoint health care” where you get to choose any system of medicine you want as long as it’s the one the IRS says you have to choose. Sounds a bit like Communist China, doesn’t it?
What we really need is a truly free market for health care products and services. …a level playing field where natural remedies can be honestly marketed with accurate health claims and where healers of all kinds can engage in healing services without being arrested or threatened with imprisonment. State medical licensing boards, in particular, should be completely dissolved. They are the monopolistic power hubs that enforce conventional medicine monopolies at the state level while criminalize alternative cancer doctors.
A truly free market in health care would revolutionize health in America while ending the dark age of Big Pharma dominance over the entire industry. One day soon, let us hope we may have an opportunity to invoke truly free market economics that will unleash a new era of freedom and healthy living while giving the natural side of medicine its well-deserved opportunity to compete against the failed system of conventional sick care.
In a fair competition, 4 out of 5 consumers would choose natural medicine over conventional medicine. That is precisely why they cannot allow such a freedom of choice to exist.