Free market does not work for health care

August 29, 2013

Rutland Herald

In her commentary “An Unhealthy Public Policy” (Rutland Herald, Aug. 21), Ms. Darcie Johnston, founder of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, an anti single-payer group, writes that “Vermonters and Vermont’s health care system will suffer if this ‘experiment’ [Vermont’s Act 48 and Vermont’s version of Obamacare] is continued and opponents alternatives are ignored.”

How so? How could Vermont’s health care suffer more that it already is under the current system, or rather non-system? How would the free market reform itself, as she suggests, to lower costs to a level where all Vermonters could be insured, when it has consistently failed to do so? Despite spending $5 billion on health care alone in Vermont, we still have some 40,000 uninsured. If we get the “Vermont State government out of the way of free market reform,” as Ms. Johnston advocates, what would be different about the free market? More excessively high-deductible policies which people cannot afford or use? Even higher CEO salaries? How will captive insurance bring down our embarrassingly high medical costs?

Ms. Johnston states the experience of the former Soviet bloc “gave us a vivid example of the ultimate outcome of public monopolies.” It should be noted, however, that all these nations of the former Soviet bloc have publicly funded universal health care systems. As the statistics continuously show, the US lags behind (see

While Obamacare is an experiment it is one which is badly needed. Hopefully, it is a step to publicly funded universal care. This is no new experiment. Act 48 has proven itself time and again. It is good public policy.