Healthcare Debate and History in the U.S.

Shamelessly stolen from this facebook group: We Build Our Society / #WBOS

Marie posts a question about how to centrally plan the delivery of healthcare to a population, but seems incurious to the actual history of the use by elites to regulate, control and limit what were clearly once FREER (not the mythological perfectly “free”) markets in medical care.

Here is more information:

1. Letter to the editor, Roderick Long:

” To the editor:

To understand the current debate over healthcare, one needs to see past the rhetoric of both parties and look at the policies they actually enact.

Republicans promise to protect us against big government, while Democrats promise to protect us against big business.

“Hey there, corporate parasite” – “Hey there, socialist oppressor”

But in practice, both parties consistently support a partnership between big government and big business, at the expense of ordinary people. They bicker over which partner is to be dominant; but neither party ever seriously threatens the overall partnership.

The healthcare bill is a case in point.

Democrats have portrayed it as an assault on the power of insurance companies – as if those companies won’t benefit enormously from a provision requiring everyone to buy health insurance (with or without the public option).

The Republicans, for their part, portray their defense of the status quo as a defense of the free market. But the status quo in healthcare is no free market; it’s a system of massive, ongoing government intervention on behalf of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the medical establishment.

Democrats and Republicans disagree only over the precise flavor of intervention, not the amount. The question is always whether decisions about your healthcare should be made by bureaucrats, or instead by plutocrats – never by you.

A century ago, a vibrant system of health cooperatives, run not by bureaucrats or plutocrats but by the working class, was dramatically reducing healthcare prices and boosting patient autonomy – until government regulation shut the system down. (University of Alabama history professor David Beito documents the story in his book From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State.)

If Republicans really care about free markets, and if Democrats really care about the poor, why doesn’t either party work to repeal those laws and allow the cooperative system to return?

Roderick T. Long ”

Further reading, see
R.T. Long, How Government Solved the Healthcare Crisis: “In “How Government Solved the Healthcare Crisis,” market anarchist theorist Roderick Long discusses the history of the grassroots mutual aid associations that working-class folks organized to get access to affordable healthcare — until the State, at the behest of Big Medicine, deliberately set out to edge them out and shut them down, by any means necessary.”

R.T. Long: Poison As Food, Poison As Antidote:, and
R.T. Long: Remembering Corporate Liberalism:
Kevin Carson’s Meet the New Healthcare Boss:
and Honest Statism Beats a Fake Free Market:
Gary Chartier’s State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree and Wherein They Differ Regarding Healthcare Reform.

Roderick T. Long’s “Mutual Aid Medical Care“:



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