The free market medical movement at the Free Market Medical Association Conference

September 21, 2017 by akallen1227
Maggie Wang, SLU
Maggie Wang, SLU— on the free market medical movement

Meeting people who are the face of the free market medical movement was a breath of fresh air. Americans pay more per capita for healthcare than all other countries in the world (OECD 2017). Part of the reason for this is administrative costs. Accountants, collections agencies, insurers, negotiators, lawyers and clerks are expensive cogs in the healthcare system. People like Dr. Keith Smith of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma fill an important niche. Free market healthcare facilities are treating the people that Obamacare has neglected.

By minimizing administrative costs through directly charging the consumer, the Surgery Center of Oklahoma can afford to provide competitive and transparent prices. Many of their surgery costs are lower than the deductible on peoples’ health plans. The leaders of the free market movement are my personal heroes because I know they are treating some of the most impoverished people —not just in America, but around the continent.

I understand that people against the free market medical movement of healthcare are afraid of corruption. Nevertheless, I find it hard to associate the word corruption with the same people that have put their own careers on the line to provide affordable healthcare to the uninsured and underinsured. Free market healthcare facilities are not intended to be alternative insurance. Instead, these facilities are meant to assist people in accessing affordable healthcare. I sent my friends from college the link to Keith Smith’s website to use as a reference point for quoted surgery costs at other hospitals. Price transparency helps all people look for the best quality solution.

Jay Kempton and Keith Smith, MD
FMMA co-founders Jay Kempton and Keith Smith, MD.

Many of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma’s surgery costs are lower than the deductible on people’s health plans.” ~Maggie Wang, SLU

As free market medicine expands, I have no problem with saying that there is the potential not for corruption, but inequity. However, there is no market, communist government or ruling body in the world that has proven capable of preventing the rich from seeking luxury. The benefit of the free market facilities is that free market facilities are transparent about prices. The consumer understands the care they are purchasing up front. That is already a commendable improvement to what currently exists. Nothing is perfect. I encourage people to think of better solutions to address equity. I believe, though, that consumer awareness will lead to changes in creating a better system.

I am skeptical that the American government is capable of reaching a perfect solution for healthcare in the immediate future. While I would love just as much as the next person for the government to quickly solve the healthcare problem, in the meantime, I believe that the American people have an equal responsibility in finding a solution for healthcare. People in the free market movement such as Dr. Keith Smith are important players in exploring new frontiers to affordable care. The best part of attending the FMMA 2017 conference in Oklahoma City was not just meeting a group of people equally committed to improving healthcare, but also seeing them take personal responsibility in creating a better healthcare system for their communities.

[OECD (2017), Health spending (indicator). doi: 10.1787/8643de7e-en (Accessed on 05 September 2017)]

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