America’s health care system is profoundly unhealthy. It is often described grossly inaccurately as a free market, both by the left and the right. A more appropriate description would be a highly bureaucratic, over-regulated government system with elements of capitalism. Consequently, it has all the disadvantages of socialism while incurring the costs of operating in a free market.
The result is that the U.S. has the most expensive health care system in the world, costing four times more than market-oriented solutions such as that of Singapore. Those who suffer the most are the poor and disadvantaged.
Democrats recognize that health care is not affordable to everyone, but their solution is even more socialism, a single-payer system like that in Canada and Scandinavia. Republicans give lip service to the free market, but in the end, they tend to opt for more government spending and intervention because they believe this is the only way to give coverage to the poor.
In recent years, however, a new trend in private health insurance shows how a free market in practice may help provide health care even to the disadvantaged, without government assistance. It’s a mixture of health care insurance and charity.
One of the leading actors in this new market is Medishare, a Christian health care-sharing community. It boasts half the cost of other insurance programs, while helping fellow God-fearing Christians in need.
How does it work? Surprisingly, it resembles the health care system in Singapore. Everyone pays a monthly contribution into the system, which subsidizes the major medical expenses of the members. As a member you pay a reduced price every time you visit a doctor, but when your medical bills exceed a certain maximum threshold, the community covers all the remaining costs.
…allied with like-minded people who share your faith or values oils your charitability.
The fact that you still have running costs when going to the doctor up to a threshold, even with a reduced price, means that you are more likely to be careful about your expenses. It financially disciplines the whole community and brings the costs down for all.
Also, the fact that you are allied with like-minded people who share your faith or values oils your charitability. Maybe you don’t like subsidizing abortions? A Christian sharing community ensures that your contributions do not go to procedures you consider immoral. The system is set up to help people, and, as a bonus, contributes to social cohesion and community building. Similar services and networks are available for other faiths.
Such community sharing is not new. It dates back thousands of years. However, a new element is technology, which helps expand the endeavor nationwide and provides a mechanism for mixing health insurance and charity.
Politically, community sharing provides a free market answer to the problem of how to ensure that the poor have access to adequate health care. If more conservatives were aware of this option, maybe we could finally repeal Obamacare and replace it with something genuinely better.