3 votes

Health Care: Libertarian Style

Does anyone know of books concerning U.S Health Care from a libertarian perspective? I have already searched Amazon, but nearly all of the books criticize our current system and advocate socialist medicine as a replacement.

Secondarily, I am also looking for interesting books/ writings on general topics about the practice of medicine in the U.S.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Here's a great article by

Here's a great article by Yuri Maltsev: What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us http://mises.org/daily/3650/What-Soviet-Medicine-Teaches-Us

And this one by Murray Rothbard: The Health Plan's Devilish Principles http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard201.html

Learn the History of Medial Licensing and Government Involvement

See Journal of Libertarian Studies Volume #3 page 73-119 The Early Development of Medical Licensing Laws 1870-1900) by Ronald Hamowey. Starting with the founding of the American Medical Association (the AMA)there was a concerted effort to limit the supply of doctors in America. Cutting supply came through the states. Read for yourself. Cutting supply of Doctors increases the price. This of course is only part of the story.


JustLiberty4US's picture

Thanks, I am looking forward

Thanks, I am looking forward to listening to the broadcast. I especially like that Lew lists the website with the podcast which provides additional information. This will help.

I have to give a talk on medicine in the U.S this coming fall. Thank you to those of you who recommended readings so far. Any other suggestions are appreciated. I also think, given the SCOTUS decision, it's a good idea to be knowledgeable about the topic so that we can begin to educate others. Most of us know the supreme court decision is a disaster for medicine and our country, evidence demonstrating our case is helpful.

That you can't find anything is proof Libertarians are slackers

How is smaller government, free market relative to healthcare supposed to gain traction if not being distributed as choice for Americans through competing legislation in Congress and to educate the public anyway?

I would disagree with anyone that people generally wouldn't buy or want health insurance. So, the question becomes what is the best way to allow a majority of Americans the option to get affordable healthcare through insurance? People argue that competition would bring down prices, but I would counter that competition would only work if there was regulation against corporations from merging and getting too big to corner the market. Even if you didn't have health insurance at all, there would eventually be the rise of a few big corporations that dominate everything else in a particular industry. How many small car manufacturing companies are there? And why is it that when I go to a dealership there is not a major price difference between new, comparable models? Same thing in the energy industry.

So therefore, one has to except that an old style, Libertarian version of healthcare would result in greater mortality and more people suffering from disease and disorder, etc - based on how wealth is distributed currently. Healthcare might not be such a problem if wealth distribution was such that a majority of Americans are wealthy - meaning having significant ability to increase savings relative to healthcare cost. Libertarians have to concentrate on the economy and promote small business to increase competition and maximize employment while decreasing taxes to the minimum possible. If successful and leading to increased wealth of a majority of Americans, then applying Libertarian version of healthcare - medical savings account promotion through tax deduction as example - would be more possible.

We are all socialists now - whether you like it or not. And I don't like it all.

I joined the Libertarian Party recently and I hope in the rest of my years I can get really involved and form think tanks in how socialism can be combated through practical Libertarian ideas that politicans can present in the form of legislation.

You make a number of broad assertions

You say libertarians have not written on healthcare. False.

You say the free market inevitably leads to consolidation, poorer service and/or higher prices. This is demonstrably false.

You falsely hold up the car industry and the energy industry as examples of what the market will bring us if the healthcare market were freed from government control...yet you do not note that the government has repeatedly bailed out the auto industry to the benefit of the large established companies and to the detriment of start up competitors. You also ignore the incestuous relationship between Big Oil and the Dept of Energy, Dept of Interior, Military Industrial Complex, etc.

You need not design a 'libertarian' system, just let people be free and they will create systems none of us can even dream of.

So give an example of legislation that a poltician could use

Waht would the subtitle be? Would it just simply say that the people don't have to participate in any of the current social/welfare and insurance programs? Would it describe how much tax break a person would get for doing so? Would it be required that the money is designated for healthcare?

How do we get from ObamaTaxCare to the fallicous healthcare system or non-system you describe in the poltical realm?

You're asking me to be a lawyer or legislator?


As of August 1st, 2012, all persons having attained the age of majority shall be free to contract for healthcare services, procedures, medicines, insurance, or any other products deemed healthcare-related by the person. Any statute, judgement, regulation, decree, finding, or prohibition that prevents a person from exercising freedom of choice in personal healthcare decisions is hereby null and void.

Or, if you don't like the all-at-one-time approach, you can painstakingly research every Federal regulation, every law, every judgement and specifically write laws to repeal each and every one. I wish good luck to anyone who thinks they can do that.

Do I think a single repeal/empowerment bill could pass into law? No, not in this Congress, and not with this President. Nor do I think lesser measures will be enacted. The key to positive change will be to change the People's thinking about healthcare, then to demand that change be carried out politically.

Won't happen today.

Good find

Even the relatively tame reforms in this bill couldn't pass Congress. Until the People understand how healthcare choice really works (maybe after they've lost all choice through ObamaCare) will they be in a position to demand that Congress give them back their freedom.

The libertarian style would

be quite easy to understand. No insurance. There would be alot more independent practices, surgery centers, medical supply costs would go way down, as well as prescriptions. There is no market. Insurance makes it this way. The consumer of the service has no negotiating power in the pricing structure.

Who here would pay 700 dollars for a bi-yearly routine visit to a doctor, only to see that doctor for 4 minutes? No one. Doctors, those that are not like Ron and Rand, LOVE insurance companies.

There is nothing wrong with

There is nothing wrong with free market insurance. However, health insurance today has been completely distorted by government intervention.

The purpose of insurance is protection in the event of rare catastrophic occurrence. For instance, people buy life insurance for their death. Property insurance is for major rare occurrences like fire, falling trees, storm destruction. Property insurance is not for fixing a cracked window, new paint, replacing your water heater, etc. People insure their vehicle in case of crash or theft, or other major damage. They don’t buy insurance for oil changes, car washes, mechanical repair and tire replacements.

Yet the expectation for health insurance today is to cover just such routine maintenance items as a family doctor visit, strep throat, simple stitches, simple infection, and so forth. It separates the patient from the provider. It adds time delays, bureaucracy, hassles and frustration and expenses at every step. It interferes and degrades the provider patient relationship.

Imagine what the cost of auto insurance would be if every time you wanted an oil change, tire replacement, new struts, or muffler replacement you had to first open up a claim with your insurance carrier. After a couple days they would send you to an approved shop to inspect the vehicle and prepare a report for the claim handler. Then some time later the claim handler would issue a decision on whether to approve the oil change. Then they would send you authorization for the procedure. Then you would make an appointment for your oil change at the approved shop. The insurance carrier, however, would determine what grade and quality of oil. The shop would then charge you a copay and then prepare a detailed billing statement using constantly changing codes established by the insurance carrier. They would then wait 45 days for payment. If there were any clerical or other errors the payment request would be rejected and the shop would have a limited time to correct the errors and resubmit the itemized billing statement for approval, and again wait another 45 days for payment.

In such a scenario, it is easy to see that auto insurance would be multiple times more expensive then it already is, not to mention tedious and time consuming. The shops would be geared toward appeasing the insurance companies and not you, after it is the insurance company who is the real customer paying the bill and choosing which shops to approve.

And yet, such a system in health insurance is exactly what has been demanded and established through government distortion such a Medicare and other direct government programs, as well as a tax and regulatory system that makes the employer the customer of health insurance rather than the patient:

Let it not be said that we did nothing.-Ron Paul
Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.-Sophia Magdalena Scholl

rare catastrophic occurrences

happen very very......almost never, compared to the size of our population.

Perhaps you are

Perhaps you are misinterpreting. Catastrophic occurrences for individuals like a building fire, or death, or serious hospitalization are of course very rare for any particular individual, but are quite common and mathematically predictable in large numbers like the size of the population.

Let it not be said that we did nothing.-Ron Paul
Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.-Sophia Magdalena Scholl

mostly right.

You would still have insurance, but for catastrophic things. Hence INSURANCE.

That's what I hate about health insurance, it isn't insurance! It's used far too routinely.

Pottawattamie County Iowa

"Capitalism should not be condemned, since we haven't had capitalism." -Dr. Ron Paul

JustLiberty4US's picture

I agree, it is easy to

I agree, it is easy to understand. However, surely someone, at sometime has written a book defending the position. If there aren't any books on the topic, do you know of any articles?

You said it

No Insurance. How could a "Libertarian" support a socialist program like health insurance which manipulates the system and makes free choice impossible. You are right and deserve a vote up.

mary ruwart

Mary Ruwart's Healing Our World

Excellent Book!

Excellent Book!

Let it not be said that we did nothing.-Ron Paul
Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.-Sophia Magdalena Scholl