Healthcare is a primary means by which we maintain our lives, like the park ranger in this picture providing a valued service to the community.
If we are not fully covered, the medical care may be skipped or prove exceedingly expensive for many. Of course, if a person is not well or properly treated, often their job is not properly done.
More striking for the individual, bankruptcy occurs for many who have no or inadequite insurance. When this occurs, their liberty is circumscribed and their pursuit of happiness is restricted.
Consider these recent findings.
- Between 25% and 62% of all bankruptcies are triggered by medical bills.
- In 2015, medical bills led one million adults to declare bankruptcy.
As the current pandemic and economic lockdown reveals, the entire society is affected by the health of its citizens, not just the individual. The society’s inter-workings demand healthy, unfettered contact between its citizens for goods to be produced and available. The pandemic economic caused has yet to be tallied, but it is clearly significant as unemployment rise and GDP fall has already indicated.
In more normal times, it’s easier to overlook the degradation to overall society by medical costs, but we should remember 1 million bankruptcies means 1 million people plus dependents must find a new means to pay for day-to-day living.
It’s unfortunate to consider, but some of those people will turn to crime, affecting the rest of society and restricting their ability to achieve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Healthcare is not a proper free market. As human life is invaluable, the healthcare demand curve is vertical. The supply side can charge whatever they want—as is occasionally exposed in prescription pricing.
It is inappropriate to use free market forces to control medical pricing. Monopoly pricing should not be allowed by corporations. Those corporations can manipulate delivery of their medical services to gain excess profits at the cost of people’s ability to pursue life, as in the Declaration of Independence hallmark phrase, “… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”