Dallas Libertarians Are Talking Health Care

It’s new web series of locally made videos, and here’s the first. This is pretty good stuff.

With government takeover of medical care being sold as “reform” by the administration-directed media, nice to hear some alternative voices.

For specifics on market-based alternatives to government-run health care, Whole Foods CEO John McKay’s list of eight ideas remains one of the most succinct and thoughtful.

1. Remove the legal obstacles which slow the creation of high deductible health insurance plans and Health Savings Accounts. The combination of high deductible health insurance and Health Savings Accounts is one solution that could solve many of our health care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high deductible health insurance plan, and provides up to $1,800 per year in additional health care dollars through deposits into their own Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness. Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan’s costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of team member satisfaction.

2. Change the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have exactly the same tax benefits. Right now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible for employers but private health insurance is not. This is unfair.

3. Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that health insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable everywhere.

4. Repeal all government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance many billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual health insurance customer preferences and not through special interest lobbying.

5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors into paying insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are ultimately being passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.

6. Make health care costs transparent so that consumers will understand what health care treatments cost. How many people know what their last doctor’s visit cost? What other goods or services do we as consumers buy without knowing how much they will cost us? We need a system where people can compare and contrast costs and services.

7. Enact Medicare reform: we need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and move towards greater patient empowerment and responsibility.

8. Permit individuals to make voluntary tax deductible donations on their IRS tax forms to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP or any other government program.


  1. Anonymous says:

    FBI Scanning Millions of DMV Photos

    “Everybody’s participating, essentially, in a virtual lineup by getting a driver’s license.”


  2. Frank R says:

    McKay has offered some of the most sensible approaches to reforming healthcare that have been made. His changes are focused on areas which really have a chance of improving cost and delivery. Opposition to his ideas are based on the preposterous assumption that the bloated federal bureaucracy can somehow make healthcare more streamlined and cheaper, not to mention spending a bundle to do it and thus, lowering the deficit. Talk about magical thinking.

  3. Dallasite says:

    Frank R:

    “Opposition to his ideas are based on the preposterous assumption that the bloated federal bureaucracy can somehow make healthcare more streamlined and cheaper…”

    There is absolutely nothing that the government can do cheaper, or more efficient, than private enterprise, ever. Even the Socialists in Europe are slowly coming to this conclusion, but the Liberals here in the US are incapable of learning from history.

  4. Dallasite: For some reason my spam filter catches some of your comments. If they don’t immediately appear, drop me an email and I’ll make sure to get them up.

  5. From a Zogby poll last September…

    1. Currently, Americans may only purchase health insurance from a provider licensed in their state. Some say that Americans should be allowed to purchase health insurance from providers in different states, possibly creating more competition and driving down the price of health insurance. Do you agree or disagree?

    Agree 82.8%
    Disagree 6.9%
    Not sure 10.2%


  6. Anonymous says:

    “There is absolutely nothing that the government can do cheaper, or more efficient, than private enterprise, ever.”

    Isn’t it a tragedy that private enterprise can’t save itself from from its own blinkered excesses?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Vines & Cattle needs to flow over to his blog and post an update. Come on, a dozen posts in the past three months, only two in September, and none so far in October? Fuggedaboutit!

  8. Oh but it does in a free market, rather than a corporate crony system like we have now which ensures government interference, subsidy, bailouts, subjective enforcement and punishment, and immunity from liability — all based on which set of legislators a corporation has in its pockets.

    Excess, in a free market where government only ensures contracts are honored and prohibits force and fraud, is just another bad decision that is punished by competition from good actors and by consumers voting with their dollars.

    But that’s not what you want, is it, anonymous? You want everything regulated, controlled and mandated to ensure outcomes you desire. You and everyone else. So you vote for one group of political bosses or another.

    And you’re actually surprised when business just buy those bosses up, too.

    As PJ O’Rourke noted, when buying and selling is controlled by legislation, the first thing bought and sold is the legislature.

    The free market isn’t perfect and it doesn’t give you everything you want and it doesn’t repeal the laws of supply and demand and market pricing. But it is free, and to the degree now and in the past markets were free, so too was the state of man’s well-being, prosperity and progress.

    You don’t get your bread because a senator orders it. You don’t get it because you deserve it, or from magic skittle shitting unicorns. You get it because the breadmakers, the delivery drivers, and the shopkeepers want to make a profit.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Garrison’s post is of course, correct, but largely irrelevant.

    A libertarian arguing the merits of a free-market system in America in 2009 is like a cow arguing the merits of vegetarianism while trapped in the chute awaiting slaughter.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “You want everything regulated, controlled and mandated to ensure outcomes you desire.”

    And using your knee-jerk free-market logic, you must want everything unregulated, uncontrolled and left to the whims of chaos. The most reliable engines – internal combustion or economic – have governors and other negative feedback devices to keep them from overheating, over-revving and seizing up. That’s the problem with you anarchist libertarians – the only regulation you can tolerate is the regulation of someone else’s activity. As long as you have your guns and booze, you could give a good goddamn about anyone else.

    No, I want it regulated enough to prevent a handful of greedy self-centered assholes from holding the treasury hostage and bringing the whole edifice crashing down.

  11. Yes and no, anonymous @ 7:08. I don’t expect a truly unfettered market anytime soon (and by unfettered I mean still governed by the rule of law) but I’m heartened by a confluence of factors: the falling dollar, the growing cult of personality, the exploding deficit and debt, the bankrupt entitlement programs, and by, yes, I admit it — the recent, non-partisan awakening of everyday people in reaction to government growing too intrusive, spending too much, borrowing too much, and controlling too much.

    Now, on that last — and I admit I was pleasantly surprised by the legs and the way they’ve stayed on message — should that movement be coopted by one of the parties, or start embracing unrelated, douchbag social conservative issues (or less likely, dippy social leftist issues), then it’s another story.

    But right now I’m thinking we’re reaching a tipping point, and (to mangle metaphors) the pendulum is about to take a big swing back from rampant left and right statism.

    So, like The Doctor, I live in hope. (But I keep the screwdriver handy.)

  12. No, I want it regulated enough to prevent a handful of greedy self-centered assholes from holding the treasury hostage and bringing the whole edifice crashing down.

    As opposed to how it is now, huh? (hint: The Fed, the 24-hour money printing presses, the bailed out bankers and automakers, etc.)

  13. Anonymous says:

    “As opposed to how it is now, huh?’

    Yes. If we’d had something like effective regulation, we wouldn’t have 24-hour money printing presses, bail-outs, etc. Duh.

  14. Oh I see. Central planning and control works, the only problem is the right people haven’t been in charge, huh?

    Have you ever taken a moment to wonder what, exactly, gives you the right to tell two other people how they must trade when they’re coming together in mutual consent, and provided the trade/contract doesn’t violate the rights or property of anyone else?

    Put simply, who do you think you or anyone else is to tell two other people what they can do with their stuff?

    Now take that little thought experiment to the big stage, where the two traders represent tens or hundreds in likewise, mutual consent, and in the reality that your ability to stick your nose into their business doesn’t gain an inch no matter how many people they are, so long as again, their transactions don’t pick your pocket or break their nose, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson?

    And then tell me what’s the big idea?

    And if people are too stupid, greedy and corrupt to manage their own lives and make their own consenting trades and contracts, then how do they gain the wisdom, smarts and virtue to tell others how to run their business?

    (Oh, also factor in that the “market” you fear and which you apparently think freedom oriented folks think is some god is just hundreds of millions of individuals engaging in individual choices a hundred times a day, every day of their lives. Tell me who has the wisdom to regulate that?)

    Regulations and law for people and enterprise should only restrain them from violating the rights of other people, with the rule of law and civil and criminal courts to adjudicate violations of contracts and rights. Laws and regulations shouldn’t protect them from the consequences — good or bad — of their own decisions, or direct their choices, or order them about like serfs and slaves.

    It doesn’t matter how noble your ends or how honorable your intentions — their lives and choices are their own, and they should be free to pursue their own happiness (Hey, that’s catchy). Because no one can determine what makes anyone happy but themselves, and so long as they’re not pissing on your lawn or rogering your dog, what they do with their lives and their stuff is none of your goddamn business.

  15. Dallasite says:

    “Dallasite: For some reason my spam filter catches some of your comments.”

    In a free market I should be able to sell penis enlargers and Canadian drugs without your spam filter interfering.

  16. Get your own blog and you can.

    This place = my stuff.


  17. Frank R says:

    Anonymous, you apparently can’t see the greedy, self centered assholes who occupy the seats in Congress. They have become the ruling class in this country. The more control the grab through regulation and outright acquisition. Only someone truly ignorant of history could fail to see what a gathering disaster this will be. The politicians will go belly up for any corporation which will ensure their re-election.
    If you don’t believe it, watch what is happening with the monstrous cap and trade legislation. The legislation will allow carbon credits for all companies to trade. The intent is to allow industries that are emitting too much CO2 now to buy time via credits to clean up their act. They will buy these credits from companies who will not need them all. Initially the credits were to be sold by auction resulting in a huge windfall of revenue to the government. The Congress, however, overrode that idea. They now have more than 80% of the initial credits set aside to parse out to their favorites. Not only is that legalized corruption, it does nothing for the stated intent of the bill which was a joke to begin with.
    In a free market bloated fat companies will ultimately fail. This is precisely what should have happened last fall to the too big to fail giants that were pulled from the brink. Now we have institutions that are even bigger than the too big to fail guys. And why? Because of government meddling.
    All the while informationally challenged folks sit around yammering about needing more government involvement and control.

  18. Anonymous says:

    “…and provided the trade/contract doesn’t violate the rights or property of anyone else?”

    The entire house of cards depends on that one little clause you conveniently stuck in there, The playing field is not flat. Those entrusted to provide that those violations don’t occur have been asleep at the switch or complicit in the fraud.

    Better stock up on guns and booze, libertarians. You’re gonna need ‘em.

  19. Daniel says:

    The Greedy Self-Centered Asshole Gene was actually pretty good — not like Valley of the Dolls good, but I got through the first 11 pages on account of I was a captive audience just taking me a shit.

    Afterwards, I didn’t flush — talk about life-changing. It was like I was, I don’t know, one of the Special Elect Of The Earth or something but then my wife got mad and then I got mad but then I apologized and then I bought her some shoes and we got a nice dinner and I drank too much and she got mad again but this time I just went to sleep and in the morning I couldn’t really manage to budge and I asked her would she make me some coffee and she just threw the whole pound at me and I said well I guess that means no.

    Upshot, or The Lesson I Learned From The Self-Centered Asshole Gene: What kind of weakling would let the government build his interstate highway system for him?

  20. Anonymous says:

    this is better than stephen colbert.

    was there a time when libertarians were less extremist?

    i always thought they were rational republicants…but some of this shit is just whack whack whack whacked out

  21. OneTallTexan says:

    Anonymous on October 13th, 2009 7:31 pm
    “As opposed to how it is now, huh?’
    Yes. If we’d had something like effective regulation, we wouldn’t have 24-hour money printing presses, bail-outs, etc. Duh.

    Just a thought here… but if these douchebags can’t even get that right… maybe just maybe… there’s no way on, above, or below the earth I want those SAME douchebags anywhere NEAR me, or my rights, or MY MONEY!

    Get a clue… if government could control itself, we wouldn’t be having these conversations. The simple fact of the matter is that the only effective regulation in DC is called a COD- Certificate of Death.

    Was it it Jefferson who said that the closest thing to eternal life on earth was a government program? Someone help me out on who that was….

  22. OneTallTexan says:

    Another thought… I guess I don’t know if I fit here or not, as I’m a big state’s rights advocae. So, isn’t like the 10th amendment to the CONSTITUTION all about state’s individual rights? And doesn’t it state in clear Mandarin Chinese that asdlawoweas? Thought so!

    Seriously…powers NOT EXPRESSLY GRANTED TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT belong to the STATES or the PEOPLE… that’s pretty plain and clear. So someone please explain to me how we got from the 18th and 21st amendments to government bailouts and marijuana is a federal offense! Gosh, based on the court’s use of prior rulings, it only seems fair that it should take ANOTHER constitutional amendment to make ANOTHER substance illegal… it’s only fair! We need to kill the whole life-time achievement award that is the supreme court. Seriously, too much legislating from the bench!

    I for one think Marijuana is the most disgusting virile crap in the world, turning some of our youth’s brightest minds into video game playing line cooks instead of something productive, but I’ll fight to the death to protect their right to make that choice! I’ve known too many of them make that choice, and yes, I still believe that it is their choice to make. And, no, anonymous, nobody is lobbying for my vote or paying me to feel that way, unlike the DC-ers. It’s called I WANT my rights, and therefore I’m willing to fight for YOUR rights. together we both win, so long as we are not STRIPPED of our rights.

    check this out! Arizona is looking mighty fine… http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/nullification/health-care/

    Few other states too!

  23. Wow, how did I miss all this.

    There was a lot of great stuff on this round of blogging.
    Anyway, I am a simple guy, it comes down to this:

    Libertarians want less government intervention in our lives, when the government gets involved it usually gets it wrong, hence the bail outs, the stimulus, cash for clunkers, medicare, wars… right now he who lobbies hardest gets their own version of government intervention.

    Or he who can group the most people together and scam them into voting one way, gets their own version of government intervention via more votes (SEIU etal).

    But the smallest minority in America is always abused. And the smallest minority is the individual, and that is everyone.

    There is a difference between Anarchist and Libertarians. Libertarians want govt to do only those things that protect our rights. AND STOP. Defense from foriegn attack, defense from fraud, defense from crime. So as you can see the Libertarian philosophy puts limits on what these scum bags should be allowed to do, which protects our rights to our own pursuit of happiness.

    But what Anonymous fails to see is our belief in protection from fraud, in my opinion that fraud could be hidden or unhidden. So there would be groups that keep tabs on those at the top of the oligarchy.

    Much tighter tabs than we have now, the naked short sellers (which is basically stealing and then stealing again), those bankers handing pay outs to Washington, and the Federal Reserve handing off trillions so the banks can buy America at these great discount prices…. and sell it after the Fed prints enough money to artifically inflate our economy long enough for them to make 3 Billion in 3 months (Goldman Sachs) ….. WOULD ALL BE IN JAIL.

    So it’s not a purely unregulated market we want, it’s a market free from an intervention that plays favorites, that unfairly uses govt alliances to abuse one individual over another.

    There is a place for fraud detection and protection in my opinion.

  24. Ok, the ONLY regulation that mattered in the latest Treasury theft was the one that required us to bail them out. All of the recent mischief stemmed from that, plus requirements that banks and other lending instutions lend to low income groups to increase home ownership. See Thomas Sowell’s “The Housing Boom And Bust” for details. The Subprime mortgage debacle was one of the most regulated activities on this planet, and the primary regulation was the one requiring that the subprime loans be made.

    The suggestions by the Dallas LP are good, but they assume that Free Market insurance is the answer, as opposed to Free Market Medical Care. There is a difference. Go here for details:


    Thinks are expensive when they are scarce. Medical care is an artificially scarce commodity. Remove the barriers creating the artificial scarcity, and we’re halfway there.

  25. And I meant to type “Things are expensive….”, not “Thinks are expensive”.