Sen. Rand Paul: ACA limits free marketplace in health care
CHICAGO — The free market, not government, should drive the pricing and delivery of health care, Sen. Rand Paul, said at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting here.
The Affordable Care Act does not allow patients to freely choose health insurance or health care services in a free-market economy, according to Paul (R-Ky.).
Sen. Rand Paul
“In our country, we have a debate over what system delivers the highest quality of health care to the greatest amount of people at the least cost and the lowest time waiting for it,” Paul said. “Though the debate over Obamacare may appear at times to be a debate over health care, it’s really a debate over what type of economic system distributes the greatest amount of goods at the least price.”
Government involvement in access to health care has potentially dire consequences, Paul said.
“Every time a Washington bureaucrat sets a price, consumers suffer,” he said. “If you set the price of cataract surgery too low — let’s say, free — the demand will be infinite and there will be shortages of cataract surgeons and cataract surgeries. The only way to sort this out is by making patients wait in line.”
According to Paul, it is a mistake to believe that only the government can distribute health care fairly.
“If you believe that, realize that the laws of economics, like the laws of thermal dynamics, are inescapable. There will be consequences,” Paul said. “Rationing, either by mandate or waiting in line, is an inevitable side effect of government distribution of goods.”
For example, the sustainable growth rate, a factor in annual Medicare physician payments, is a price-fixing mechanism, Paul said.
“It’s price-fixing and it messes up the distribution of goods,” he said. “It was wrong-headed policy. It’s been temporarily suspended over a dozen times yet it’s still the law.”
Disclosure: Paul has no relevant financial disclosures.