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Paul Constant is a writer at Civic Ventures, a cofounder of the Seattle Review of Books, and a frequent cohost of the “Pitchfork Economics” podcast with Nick Hanauer and David Goldstein.
He writes that the argument in favor of a free market healthcare system has often been that it would make room for innovation — and create better and more efficient care.
But the free market hasn’t priced down treatments for coronavirus, and pandemic layoffs show that employer-based health insurance isn’t a good model.
One big problem in America’s healthcare system is Big Pharma; because there wasn’t an immediate profit motive in developing vaccines for SARS and MERS — both of which are similar to coronavirus — Big Pharma gave up the hunt.
Big Pharma also devotes around $50 billion a year to stock buybacks, so they can further enrich shareholders.
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I’m old enough to remember that, when Democrats were passing the Affordable Care Act through Congress, Republicans argued that they were tampering with the greatest healthcare system in the world. The argument I saw most often in comment threads and on cable news, if I recall correctly, went that a free market healthcare system made room for untold innovations in the medical space, taking care of more people with better, more efficient healthcare than in any other nation on Earth.
It’s pretty much impossible today to claim with a straight face that the United States has the best healthcare on the planet. If you Google “greatest healthcare in the world,” the first result is an article about the most developed public healthcare systems in the world which helpfully explains, “The US ranks 15th.” See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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