Why We Need a Free, Open Healthcare Marketplace

Updated: Jun 19

Originally published by Be Unique on medium

Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels

Shopping for healthcare coverage should be as simple as shopping for anything else, but under today's healthcare system, it is anything but. Healthcare delivery has been presented to the public as a very complex issue, but it's only complicated because we have gotten away from the fundamentals, specifically the doctor-patient relationship.

Most debate and news coverage about healthcare today is focused on healthcare coverage for all, assuming that providing more health insurance to more people is the way to fix the problems in our healthcare system. I'm afraid that's not right.

The real problem is that large health networks and the payers who do business with them are forming a sort of monopoly, where the choice for consumers is gradually narrowing. Consumers use the healthcare services because they have essentially been told they can "take it or leave it."

With the loss of choice will come a deterioration of the high quality of care assured by open competition. Patients today have fewer options when selecting a provider, and providers are bound by policies written by administrators when deciding courses of treatment for patients.

Further government intervention is not helping the problem; it's making it worse. We should be striving for a better system.

The system should begin with medical records under the patient's control and offer consumers the same choices when shopping for other goods and services.

In a free-market system, the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand. They are free from intervention by a government, a price-setting monopoly, or other authority. In a heavily regulated market, a government or other body intervenes in supply and demand with various means like tariffs and other measures that restrict trade.

We always hope government intervention will lead to better care at a lower price, but unfortunately, this is not what we have today. Our healthcare system does not resemble a free market where price equilibrium is found through supply and demand. It is a complicated and compromised system by government intervention and powerful entities — providers and payers — who together are beginning to resemble a monopoly.

A free healthcare marketplace begins with the concept of individual liberty and equal access to the highest quality care. The idea can come to fruition with technologies that bring all stakeholders together regardless of physical location or economic status.

Consumers have tremendous power when buying all other goods and services. But when selecting their healthcare, they have lost that power. New technologies can help them get it back.

We cannot let politicians and corporations control the delivery of healthcare entirely. That is what we've been doing, and it's not working.

We need a free and open healthcare market, enabled by new technologies that can bring patients and providers together without restrictions. Free and open competition has led to better cars, food, houses, and a better way of life.

It’s time that individual choice and free competition led to better healthcare.
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