In the Facebook conversation on my post on pro-discrimination Senate Bill 67, my crazy cousin Aaron (not to be confused with my sane wife Erin) maintains that government is a greater threat to liberty than the free market.
If you can think of a more backwards line in political philosophy, let me know.
All human institutions err. But the free market has a really poor track record of providing the basic preconditions of liberty in a civil society, like education, public safety, and, as we see in Thursday's New York Times, health care:
Every day the scorecards went up, where they could be seen by all of the hospital’s emergency room doctors.
Physicians hitting the target to admit at least half of the patients over 65 years old who entered the emergency department were color-coded green. The names of doctors who were close were yellow. Failing physicians were red.
The scorecards, according to one whistle-blower lawsuit, were just one of the many ways that Health Management Associates, a for-profit hospital chain based in Naples, Fla., kept tabs on an internal strategy that regulators and others say was intended to increase admissions, regardless of whether a patient needed hospital care, and pressure the doctors who worked at the hospital [Julie Creswell and Reed Abelson, "Hospital Chain Said to Scheme to Inflate Bills," New York Times, 2014.01.23].
The free market is bringing us corporate control of hospitals, and corporate control brings us managers looking at stock charts, not patient charts. Corporate execs and lucky investors may enjoy more liberty to jet to Bermuda, but patients subjected to unnecessary medical treatments will enjoy less liberty as hospitals driven by the free market take us all for a ride.