Pro-Market — Not Pro-Business — is How to Salvage Health Care

Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), said he was disappointed with Republicans who wanted to keep Obamacare regulations and not trust the free market for solutions.

Paul said, “The problem is Republicans can’t seem to agree on what replacement means. To me, replacement is legalizing inexpensive insurance. That means the federal government doesn’t regulate it and allow the sale of inexpensive insurance again, legalizing the ability to join an association across state lines. I thought that is what we as Republicans believed in. But it turns out many Republicans actually believe in this giant insurance bailout super fund. Nearly $200 billion that they’re going to give to the rich Republicans actually believe in this giant insurance bailout super fund.”

Beautifully put. And exactly right.

There’s a difference between being “pro-business” and “pro-market”. Most Republicans are pro-business. This means providing subsidies or favors to various companies in exchange for donations and power. Pro-market is completely different. Pro-market means upholding the individual right of all people to trade freely with one another. Government stays out, other than making sure all parties keep their word in honoring contracts to which they freely consent.

“Pro-business” politicians are worse than useless. It’s nothing more than legalized blackmail. Politicians basically tell businesses, “In exchange for you doing what we say, including donating to us, we’ll minimize the taxation and regulation we impose on you. If you’re lucky, we’ll even grant you special favors.”

Business gets a bad name because of what politicians do to it. But business as we know it has nothing at all to do with totally free markets.

The reason the Obamacare repeal became such a fiasco is quite simple. Most Republicans are pro-business, not pro-market. That explains why they are happy to transfer billions of private dollars from the politically unconnected to the politically connected. If they were pro-market, they would support getting government out of the health care field, as fully and quickly as possible. In Senator Paul’s words, they would take the simple step of legalizing inexpensive insurance, permitting insurance sales across state lines, or whatever else buyers and sellers of health care insurance and services would want, need and demand on a free market.

Most of us feel entitled to choose the automobiles, the cell phones, the computers, food or clothing that we want. We want to be able to trade for these items on a free market. Doctors and patients have the exact same right. Nobody in Washington DC outside of Senator Rand Paul appears to care. And that’s everyone’s loss.

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