This is an excellent article that Dan Cuprill has written that deals with the healthcare debate and the free market. I have cut and pasted it below or you can go to his site and see it by clicking on the name.
A friend of mine who also appreciates the value of free market capitalism, recently admitted to being stumped in a debate with an acquaintance. He was asked, “How is the common good served by a profit motive that encourages that denial of services that customers have already paid for through their premiums. Aren’t profits greater to the company that denies the most claims?”
Let’s begin with the first question:
The purpose of a business is not to serve the common good, but rather to make a profit. Fortunately, it is in making the profit that the common good is served. If a business cannot make a profit, it ceases to exist. Ipads, laptops, and cars exist only because it is profitable to make and sell them.
In insurance, profit does is not made through the denial of claims, but rather the adequate pricing of premiums. Payable claims are stated in the contract. They cannot be denied unless excluded. It is a matter of law. The civil courts and appeal boards exist to enforce those laws.
The assumption that somehow a non-profit, single payer plan will rid us of claim exclusions is completely false. People come to the US from Canada all the time because they cannot get adequate care. Government plans tend to deny claims in a more subtle, but equally injurious fashion: rationing. Sure, your gall bladder surgery is covered. You can get that surgery in one year.
The reality we must accept is that some people are simply uninsurable. Unless they are willing to pay premiums equal to their claims, no one is willing to take the risk that insuring them is worth while.
If we have no private insurers, then we’ll get what the government will provide us. For most people, the quality of insurance and healthcare overall will decline drastically, as evidenced by what is available in Europe and Canada. The so-called common good is what is best for most people, not everyone. If everyone receives the same poor quality insurance, is the common good truly served?
Capitalism is not perfect. It’s just better than any other system.
For the uninsurable, a compassionate society rises to meet their needs via charity. The United States is by far the most charitable nation in the world.
As for the second question, the answer is obviously “no.” A carrier that routinely declines claims will eventually receive no customers, and hence, no profit. And an insurer that over charges will eventually lose its customers to one willing to provide coverage for less. Only a single payor system could survive such a scheme.
Being able to pay your medical bills for less than full value is not a right. It’s a privilege afforded to most, but not all. Or as my daddy use to say, “Son, life ain’t fair. Stop wishing that it was.”