The Libertarian Party of North Carolina asserts that neither health care nor health insurance should be restricted, regulated, controlled, distorted, or in any way interfered with by government. We reject the idea that there is or should be a right to health care. As with a minimum wage, a certain standard of housing, or a certain amount of food, it is logically impossible to have a right to something when the provision of that right requires the forcible confiscation of another person’s property. The only right anyone can have is the right not to be aggressed against.
The following is a list (probably not exhaustive) of ways the government affects individuals’ ability to engage in voluntary exchanges in order to obtain health care:
Professional licensing. Every state government requires health care providers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, chiropractors, etc.) to be licensed by the state. This is simply a barrier to entry that existing providers tend to favor because it reduces competition and allows them to charge higher fees. Rather than protect consumers, it leaves them with fewer (and more expensive) choices.
Pharmaceutical and medical device regulation. The FDA regulates drugs and devices and imposes massive costs on their development. The result is that many drugs and devices that could help people never make it to the market (or are even conceived of in the first place), and those that do are delayed by many years, are much more expensive, and usually are restricted even further by being declared prescription-only.
Tax code. The federal tax code exempts employer-provided health coverage (a practice that originated as a result of WWII-era wage controls), thus encouraging extensive third-party medical payments. When consumers pay less for something, they use more of it. Furthermore, medical providers know that individual consumers are not shopping around, so there’s less incentive for them to be competitive on price.
Medicare and Medicaid. Just as with government subsidies for college tuition, the subsidizing of health care through Medicare and Medicaid cause demand to be artificially increased, thus causing prices for everyone else to rise well beyond natural market levels. And of course the increasing prices drain individuals’ income and thus create additional “need” for Medicaid and other government welfare. In addition, when you subsidize health care, you incentivize poor health, increasing demand yet again. Finally, the large number of Americans now on Medicare, combined with the rules governing reimbursements for each procedure or medication, means that medical pricing in America is now grossly distorted by the federal government. On a related point, the government requires hospitals to admit and treat anyone who comes in, thus further increasing demand on these facilities and raising prices for everyone.
Insurance regulation. Insurance companies are regulated by state governments, which restrict insurers’ and consumers’ freedom to contract with one another as they see fit. Insurers are forced by law to insure uninsurable risks, thus driving up prices. They are prevented from effectively discriminating between various risk levels among consumers, driving up prices even more.
The LPNC opposes these aggressions and seeks their immediate abolition.