by Rod D. Martin
April 1, 2012

Someone asked: if conservatives are against Obamacare, what are they for? And how do we take care of the truly poor in a market-based system?

1. Recognize that the current (pre-Obamacare) system is almost as socialist as Obamacare.

2. Tear down the system of government price controls which, in the first year after implementation, tripled the price of nearly every medical procedure in America (and has continued upward ever since).

3. Get rid of insane corporate welfare schemes such as the one which makes Blue Cross the ONLY insurer in Alabama. Without real competition prices cannot fall; with a thousand insurers in the game, they’ll fall like rocks.

4. Strengthen the Health Savings Account law, which (1) makes it extremely easy for individuals and small businesses to have high quality health coverage, while (2) forcing medical providers to compete on price (something which is currently impossible, since the complex system of co-pays and co-insurance and so forth hides the true price of every procedure from virtually every consumer). It also accomplishes a key goal every conservative and every American should embrace: everyone’s health care expenses — every penny you save or spend — should be exempt from taxation, period. The Democrats won’t give you this, ever. The Republicans have been for it for decades.

5. Implement Loser-Pays as the standard in medical malpractice cases. By eliminating frivolous and speculative lawsuits, you radically reduce the cost of practicing medicine. (Note to my lawyer friends: a severability clause applies to this suggestion.)

6. Dump the Kefauver Amendment. The FDA can protect us from bad drugs by guaranteeing safety WITHOUT also guaranteeing efficacy. The latter requirement is a scam to concentrate profits in the hands of an oligarchy of large pharmaceuticals, at the expense of smaller, more entrepreneurial ventures and the general public. This one thing would crash the cost of prescription drugs, and dramatically cut the time-to-market for life-saving innovations.

7. Let markets work. Resist the temptation to regulate. Bureaucrats manifestly do NOT know best when it comes to health care. When in doubt, repeal: let doctors and patients decide. And when you do, you’ll find that there may be some quacks and there may be some failures, but doctors and hospitals will get extremely good at marketing themselves based on their credentials, skills and track records. For the handful of idiots who choose unwisely, well, that’s freedom: the right to make your own choices.

Implement these steps and what you’ll get is constantly dropping costs, constantly increasing quality and service — you know, like you’ve come to routinely expect with computers, cell phones and other products and services that exist in a truly free market — and so much new economic activity that a true safety net for the truly poor is no burden on society whatsoever.

That’s the conservative vision in a nutshell. I’m certain I’ve left out a lot, but that’ll do off the top of my head. What are your thoughts?

(The preceding was originally a Facebook status update.)


Rod D. Martin is a leading futurist, technology entrepreneur, author and activist from Destin, Florida. He was part of PayPal’s pre-IPO startup team, serving as special counsel to founder and CEO Peter Thiel, and also served as policy director to former Governor Mike Huckabee. He is Founder and CEO of The Martin Organization, whose portfolio of companies includes Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GALT), Advanced Search Laboratories, Proxomo Software, Agincourt Ventures and the 10 X Fund.  His charitable and church work is central to all he does, and he further engages our culture as President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), as founder of The Vanguard Project, as a widely sought-after speaker and as author of such books as his forthcoming The Imperative of Excellence.