In 1978 well known economist Milton Friedman discussed the dangers to a free market health care system, citing one specific problem that would inevitably lead to a government monopoly.
His thoughts on the matter suggest that the single most dangerous aspect of the existing health care system is the licensure requirement for physicians. While Friedman is often quoted by conservative pundits and talk show hosts, we have not heard mention of the licensure issue, probably because it is taboo to even suggest such a thing as removing physician licensing requirements by government. The idea may seem ridiculous, but this is because we have never been educated on the actual effects of such a system, not just in health care, but in every other industry that requires licensing.
But what if Friedman was right?
Watch his short speech to an audience at the Mayo Clinic in 1978 and decide for yourself if his worst fears about a collectivist, socialized health care system have come to pass.
Friedman could have given this same speech in 2008, thirty years later – it is still that relevant.
If we continue with the licensure of medical practice then either government or organized medicine is going to have monopoly power in the field. You cannot have a free, competitive medical field. You cannot have an open field and the elimination of these monopolistic restrictions unless you eliminate the power of government at that crucial element.
In my opinion it would provide for better medical care, more widely available, at lower cost for the bulk of the people, and that it would be the only effective way of preventing what seems to be a flood tide toward the complete socialization of medicine.
This problem does not stand alone. It stands as part of a general problem that this nation faces, and that is whether we are going to continue down the road to a completely collectivist society in every area, as we have been going for the past 40 years, or whether we are going to halt that trend.
Hat Tip Carpe Diem Blog