What Can a Truly Free Market Do for Medical Care?

by | Jan 11, 2023 |

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Health Insurance is not the answer to health care costs. Ninety-one percent of Americans have health insurance, but “the system” still presents problems to many. According to Kaiser Family Foundation data, about half of U.S. adults say they have difficulty affording health care costs. About 40 percent of U.S. adults say they have delayed or gone without medical care in the last year due to cost. About one-third of adults with health insurance worry about affording their monthly health insurance premium, and 44 percent worry about affording their deductible before health insurance kicks in.

For years, health policy experts have been warning about the dangers of private equity and consolidation in medical services. Private equity firms have entered the healthcare arena, promising savings and efficiency, but this trend may have added to the cost. Five for-profit insurers now control 43 percent of the market, and more than 60 percent of community hospitals belong to a health system. A large California study found that consolidation of the hospital, physician, and insurance markets increased the prices of services as well as ACA premiums.

A new Congressional Budget Office report confirms that one factor keeping insurer costs high is that “markets have become more concentrated than they would be otherwise because of barriers to entry.”  What these barriers have in common is that they limit competition and patient access to care. Removing them would promote competition among providers and ultimately reduce costs.

My guest today will talk about some solutions to high medical costs that do not include government control of our medical care. Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act are strong evidence that government involvement does not save money overall.

Charles Sauer is an economic policy expert, author, President, and Founder of the Market Institute. Free-market alternatives to government regulation are his focus. He served as the Deputy Legislative Director for the National Center for Policy Analysis. He later was President of Entrepreneurs for Growth, a program that educated Capitol Hill staff on entrepreneurship. Mr. Sauer co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the Free Market Medical Association. In 2010, he founded the Market Institute. Sauer authored the bookProfit Motive: What Drives the Things We Do and is a frequent voice appearing in outlets like the Washington Examiner, Forbes, and Investor’s Business Daily, among many others.


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Dr. Marilyn M. Singleton

Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist and past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School. Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, and her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. She was on the faculty at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, before returning to California for private practice. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional and administrative law. She interned at the National Health Law Project, and practiced insurance and health law.

Dr. Singleton has published numerous articles, given presentations on health policy, and had many radio and television appearances, and a monthly radio show, Health Freedom Now. She started a blood pressure screening clinic at her church and make-shift clinics in two rural villages in El Salvador. Dr. Singleton ran for Congress in 2012 with a message of personal freedom and limited government.

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