Medicine in an anarchy. Cheep, High Quality Care.

I’ve been considering the numbers behind the $25 I had Joe Legal and Jose Illegal paying for membership in their Mutual Aid Society. I thought I should clarify what they get for their money, and other options that might be available in a truly free market. Assuming that the Society Joe/Jose belong to has 1000 member families it can pay out up to $25000 per year for major medical issues among those families. This may not seem like a lot but remember that this is a fully free market. The overhead in the medical field would be reduced by the massive competition available. Most doctors would work primarily with life threatening illnesses, severe trauma, and chronic conditions. Minor issues such as colds, flu, simple infections like strep throat and bronchitis could be handled with a Google search for the correct dosage of an antibiotic or other medication. Minor trauma and critical care could be handled by trained personnel without the need for a full medical degree. This would leave doctors with only the need to cover major or difficult surgery, diagnosis and treatment of unusual diseases, and research to deal with life threatening disease like cancer or chronic conditions like heart disease.

In a free market there are no restrictions on the purchase of goods or services. A person with a minor illness can use his own knowledge of medicine, the vast resources of the Internet, or a local expert for the diagnosis of his own illness. He can then determine, through one of the means previously mentioned, the correct course of treatment, the medications needed, and the dosage required. He can then go, and with or without instruction, and at his own risk, to the local pharmacy and purchase the medication he believes will be most effective in relieving his condition. If Joe Legal gets a sinus infection, and knows he has a sinus infection, either because he has had one before or from information presented on line that he believes to be trustworthy, he can go to the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist to provide the correct antibiotic. He then takes the antibiotic according to the instructions on the bottle, and soon has no sinus infection. In the stateist society we live in today he must go to a state licenced doctor, who will tell him the information he already knows and give him a prescription to buy the medication he knows he needs, then charge him $200 for telling him things he already knew. In the free market Jose Illegal faces a similar situation to Joe Legal and soon has his medication. In the stateist society Jose goes to a government run clinic and, when the bureaucracy is ready, sees a doctor who doesn’t care about Jose getting better because he gets paid anyway. He then takes his government health care card to the pharmacy and gets his medication. The government will pay the doctor and the pharmacist with money that they stole from Joe Legal and other tax payers like him.

In the realm of minor trauma, such as a broken bone, or critical care, such as appendicitis, the free market provides a large number of options not available in the stateist society. Currently EMT’s and paramedics are the first responders in a medical emergency, however the procedures they may perform are limited by law. In the free market the EMT or other first responder would have no such restrictions. They could set bones, perform a relatively simple and common surgery such as appendectomy and administer needed medication with a greater degree of freedom than is currently available. Let us suppose Joe is out one day in his yard and steps on his sons roller skate. He loses his balance, falls, and breaks his leg. In the free market he, or more likely his wife, calls the mutual aid society’s first responder line and reports that Joe has fallen and probably has a broken leg. They dispatch a paramedic who comes out, sets the leg, provides a pain killer and immobilizes the broken bone. In the event of a more severe injury the paramedic will take Joe to the hospital for further evaluation, otherwise he will advise Joe to follow up with his regular medical provider as soon as possible. The mutual aid society has a vested interest in Joe getting prompt, competent care as they will have to pay out for long term care if something is botched. Jose would live in similar circumstances. The stateist society faces all the problems brought on by a bureaucracy including poor service and slow care. Jose also takes the additional risk that he will be identified as an illegal alien and deported. In addition Joe is forced to pay for the whole process through taxes, which are ultimately collected at gunpoint.

At last we come to major medical issues. Life threatening diseases, chronic conditions, long term care, major trauma and all the other ways the human body can malfunction. This is the domain of the Doctor, by which I mean an individual who has attended a medical school and earned an advanced degree. For the most part Doctors will be engaged in research at pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and universities. While there will be fewer Doctors there will also be much fewer patients seeking care from a full Doctor. Their time will be relatively affordable and their technique will usually be on the cutting edge of medical technology. Their skill set will lie in recognizing or defining unusual medical phenomenon and finding a cure for them. in general once a cure becomes widely accepted it will also be well known, so the diseases that requite a Doctor will decrease over time. There will also be a need for skilled surgeons, who will need every bit of anatomical knowledge possible to perform surgery, especially delicate surgery, quickly, efficiently, and safely. Again as the techniques become better understood and better known the skill needed to perform them will go down, and with it cost. Contrast this with the current system where costs rise constantly, a medical degree is needed to check the most minor of problems, and nobody but a Doctor can issue even a basic antibiotic, thus driving cost up even further.

As we can see the intervention of the state pushes prices higher across the board, while it’s removal lowers them rapidly. This is accomplished by allowing people to take responsibility for the substances that go in their own bodies, allowing first responders greater leeway in dealing with emergencies, and dedicating Doctors to research into new techniques rather than the rote application of well understood medicine. Ultimately it is the violence of the state that drives medical costs higher, as violence always drives all prices higher. With this price reduction a family can afford to cover basic medical for a low price, and have protection for any major issues that may arise for as little as $25 per month.

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Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 11:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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