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Americans Need a Private Option, Not a Public Option

By Alex Epstein

WASHINGTON -- House Democrats are willing to forgo a “public option” in the final health care bill, reports the Washington Times, as long as the legislation can accomplish three things: “create more choice for insurers, create more competition for insurance companies and . . . contain costs.” But even without an explicit “public option,” the final bill presupposes only one way to accomplish those ends: government intervention.

“More government controls, we are told, are necessary to solve problems such as skyrocketing health insurance prices, lack of competition among insurance companies, the inability of workers to keep their insurance policy when switching jobs, etc.,” writes Alex Epstein, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center.

“Then why do giants of the computer industry like Google, Microsoft and Apple compete vigorously without a ‘public option’? Why do we have such plentiful, affordable food without a government ‘food insurance mandate’? Why does laser eye-surgery, which is not covered by Medicare or government insurance laws, get better and cheaper all the time, while the price of health services the government is most involved in, skyrockets?

“The answer is that these other markets are (comparatively) left free--while health care has been manipulated by government ‘solutions’ for decades. Thus, our health care discussion should focus, not on how government controls can solve our problems, but on how government controls have caused our problems.

“Then we will start to hear proposals for a truly progressive idea: a market in health care where the individual is responsible for his own health, the medical profession is truly free to compete for his dollars, and the government has been removed from the equation--the private option.”

Alex Epstein is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, focusing on business issues.

His op-eds and letters to the editor have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Canada’s National Post, the Washington Times and Investor’s Business Daily. He is also a contributing writer for “The Objective Standard,” a quarterly journal of culture and politics. Epstein has been a guest on numerous nationally syndicated radio programs.

The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”


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