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I need an answer from a Republican...

I watched John McCain's town hall meeting while at the gym.

He kept on talking about "free market incentives" being the solution to our health care problems.

I am looking for answers on the following questions:

Is there a "free market incentive" in for-profit healthcare greater than the profit motive?

Is there a "free market incentive" for for-profit health insurance companies that is more attractive than rationing denying coverage to maximize profits?

Is there a "free market incentive" for hospitals and clinics to not increase rates for services to make up for losses on unpaid ER visits by uninsured people?

These are very narrow questions. Comments that stray beyond answers to these three questions will be frozen or deleted.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)
You should know this one. ^_^ The only thing a 'free market incentive' deals with is pure capitalism without restraint. Charge money until they want to go somewhere else. There is no place in this for charity or aid to the desperate or uninsured. Those get fobbed off on 'charities' who will - in this flavor of Republican fantasy - appear from nowhere and gladly take care of those in need.

This is the flavor of Republican that I abhor. It taints all that it touches because it -sounds- great ... until you think about it. Sadly, thought is not something the modern Rep party has encouraged [since the 80's]
Aug. 27th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
I am not a Republican and I am not a conservative and I have no idea what goes on in the head of John McCain and I did not hear the speech but I will provide what I hope will be some useful comments. It appears to me that either John McCain is confused or is using terms in an unusual manner. First the phrase "free market incentives" does not make sense because a "free market" does not have incentives; the persons who are acting in the market have the incentives. For example Bob may want to found a non-profit medical center; it is Bob who has the incentive not the "free market"; it is the free market (i.e. the lack of restrictions on Bob) that allows Bob to open the medical clinic. And similarly if Carol wants to open a for-profit medical center across the street then it is Carol that has the incentive not the "free market"; it is the free market (i.e. the lack of restrictions on Carol) that allows Carol to open the medical clinic. So if you hear someone talking about "free market incentives" then my opinion is that they are using language poorly or they are just confused.

And if you hear someone making the implication that "free market" implies only for profit activity then that is a hint that the speaker does not understand the term. For example consider the "Friendly Society" organizations which provided medical services, insurance, funeral benefits, etc to their members. These were non profit organizations.
Aug. 28th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
I heard McCain claiming that government attempts to provide start-up funding to "Friendly Society" type health co-ops was a backdoor to government health.

The current mainstream Republican thinking seems to be anything that might prevent for-profit insurers from making huge profits isn't "free market."
Aug. 28th, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
Oh, and yes, you're right.

McCain's "free market incentives" as he describes them are really government incentives to private individuals to buy insurance and a regulation package on insurers to reward cost control by care providers.

Unfortunately, market economics breaks down (or behaves exactly as expected, actually, but the end result is unaceptable) with health care. You have a limited capacity/supply of care and a willingness of people to pay whatever is necessary for that limited care. When there's no natural limit on demand, that spells rising costs.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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