American Elephants

Some Thoughts on Health Care From the Acton Institute. by The Elephant's Child
August 20, 2009, 2:31 am
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, Health Care
The Mission of the Acton Institute is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.

The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is named after the great English historian, Lord John Acton (1834-1902). He is best known for his famous remark: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Inspired by his work on the relation between liberty and morality, the Acton Institute seeks to articulate a vision of society that is both free and virtuous, the end of which is human flourishing.

Not All Prices Always Go Up. Some Prices Go Down. Why Is This A Mystery? by The Elephant's Child

Everyone is talking about the increasing costs of health care. Prescription drug prices are up. the cost of health insurance is increasing, even the cost of a visit to the doctor is up. Doesn’t anything ever go down?

Laser eye surgery has the highest patient satisfaction of any surgery. The operation has been performed more than 3 million times in the past ten years. Health insurance doesn’t cover the cost, and the cost has declined by 38 percent over the past decade. In 1998, it cost about $2,200 per eye. Today the average price is $1350. How can this be?

Lasik eye surgery is not only not covered by insurance, not covered by Medicaid or Medicare, but it is not heavily regulated. It is sold in the free market with advertised prices, competition and customer choice. When the operation first appeared, there were few doctors qualified to perform the surgery, but as more clinics opened, competition began to work.

In a free market, more suppliers are free to enter. Regulation does not restrict the number of suppliers. Competition forces efficiency and lower prices, and encourages innovation. Pew Research found, in a March, 2009 poll, that most Americans felt that “People are better off in a free market economy.”

Have you ever heard President Obama utter the words “free market?” If so, in just what context?

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