Preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and other services related to the health of an individual

Health care or healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health via the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, illness, injury and other physical and mental impairments in human beings. Healthcare is delivered by health professionals (providers or practitioners) in allied health fields. Physicians and physician associates are a part of these health professionals. Dentistry, midwifery, nursing, medicine, optometry, audiology, pharmacy, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other health professions are all part of healthcare. It includes work done in providing primary care, secondary care and tertiary care, as well as in public health.

Conferences and Conventions

1 Dec - 2 Dec 2006, Health and Wealth Conference, in Foster City, California

Web Sites, a project of The Independent Institute, by Independent Institute, Daniel B. Klein, Alexander Tabarrok
Sections include: history of drug regulation, the drug development and approval process, drug safety, theory and examples of FDA harm, reform options and alternative solutions
"Medical drugs and devices cannot be marketed in the United States unless the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants specific approval. We argue that FDA control over drugs and devices has large and often overlooked costs that almost certainly exceed the benefits. We believe that FDA regulation of the medical industry has suppressed and delayed new drugs and devices, and has increased costs, with a net result of more morbidity and mortality."


A Clarion Call for Health Independence, by Wendy McElroy, 31 Jan 2007
A review of the movie Lorenzo's Oil (1992), exploring its main themes
"On a more political level, the overriding theme is 'Question Authority' ... Augusto requests medical material to better understand what is happening to his son. Without meaning offense, a doctor assures Augusto that he could not make possibly make sense of the studies ... Their willingness to tolerate both unlikely theories and the skepticism those theories elicit is precisely what leads them to ... an effective treatment ... It is not merely that experts are shown to be fallible and constrained by narrow thinking. It is that ordinary people are shown to be capable of realizing their own self-interest even in 'expert only' areas."
Alternative Medicine Is Libertarian Medicine, by Butler Shaffer, 2 Dec 2006
Discusses several aspects of healthcare, including self-ownership, being responsible for our own care, decentralized information, the collapse of external authorities and the dehumanizing decisions resulting from institutionalized healthcare
"There are a number of factors contributing to this decentralization in health care. (1) The rapidly increasing costs of traditional medicine, much of that promoted by the rigid control of entry (i.e., licensing) and the accompanying regulation of medical practices by the state. (2) An awareness ... that equally or even more effective health alternatives and remedies are available, and at significantly lower costs. (3) An attraction to the more individualized treatment afforded by alternative methods ... (4) A growing awareness of the role of self-healing and individualized health maintenance practices."
A Man, a Plan, a Flop, by David Gordon, Mises Daily, 23 Apr 2006
Critical review of Murray's In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State
"Does it not eliminate Medicare? Yes; but the plan hardly provides for a free market in medicine. Quite the contrary, everyone is required to use $3000 of his annual grant for medical insurance. ... Our author solves this problem with consummate ease. Legally oblige medical insurers to treat the entire population, of all ages, as a single pool' ... Why Murray thinks that obese people who smoke and hang-glide are at risk through no fault of their own I shall not venture to say; but to end 'cosmic unfairness,' Murray's plan subjects medical insurance to government control."
Bad Medicine, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Nov 2003
Discusses the differences between Democrat and Republican policies for government schooling and proposals to add prescription-drug coverage to Medicare
"The distance between those two positions is an illusion. In both cases, the money would come from the taxpayers and be controlled by the bureaucrats. The Democrats would deal with the drug companies, the Republicans with the HMOs. Either way, strings will be attached and the medical marketplace will be further hampered from efficiently providing life-saving products and services. The Democrats ... say they want a monster government bureaucracy controlling drug prices and giving orders to the pharmaceutical industry. The administration ... wants to subsidize private medical plans ..."
Big Pharma and Crony Capitalism, by Wendy McElroy, 9 Jul 2012
Examines the ways in which pharmaceutical companies influence government agencies like the FDA
"A friend just experienced a terrible drug problem. ... A casually prescribed pill came close to destroying her. The Kaiser Health Foundation tracked the number of retail drug prescriptions filled at American pharmacies in 2010. The statistics were broken down per capita and by age. Children age 0–8 averaged almost 4 prescriptions; Americans age 19–64 averaged 11; those over 65 years old averaged 31. Undoubtedly, many prescriptions were for antibiotics or other relatively mundane medications. But every drug has possible side effects that constitute reasonable risks only if the drug offers genuine benefit."
Clinton's Health-Care Plan for You: Cradle-to-Grave Slavery, Part 1, by Jarret Wollstein, Future of Freedom, Jan 1994
Examines various provisions of the Clinton health care plan of 1993, including studies conducted on the proposal by Consad Research Corporation and the Heartland Institute
"All doctors will eventually be forced to join governmental 'health networks,' in which bureaucrats will dictate what procedures they will be allowed to use—under penalty of fines, asset confiscation, and imprisonment. Doctors who refuse to join will be out of business. And the same holds true for alternative practitioners ... You will only be allowed to select doctors from Clinton's approved list. ... The specialties doctors will be allowed to practice will also be determined by the state ... Present and future doctors will be under direct control of a new National Health Board."
Related Topics: Bill Clinton, Government, Taxation
Clinton's Health-Care Plan for You: Cradle-to-Grave Slavery, Part 2, by Jarret Wollstein, Future of Freedom, Feb 1994
Continues the examination of the proposed Clinton health care plan of 1993, focusing on the "Health Security Cards", privacy and lifestyle provisions
"Clinton's health-care plan calls for a direct government takeover of one seventh of our economy ... national ID cards ... computer dossiers on every person in America ... registration of your children with the state from birth ... placing all doctors, hospitals ... under state control ... taxes, fines and forfeitures ... treatment for drug abuse and 'mental problems' at the whim of bureaucrats ... mandatory drugging of citizens ... and giving governmental bureaucrats the life-and-death power to decide what medicines and treatment you will be allowed to have. This is not a plan for 'reforming' health care or controlling costs."
Related Topic: Bill Clinton
Government Medical "Insurance", by Murray Rothbard, Making Economic Sense, 1995
Excerpt from Chapter 20. Written around the time of Hillarycare (Clinton's 1993 plan) but even more applicable now to Obamacare
"And so, our very real medical crisis has been the product of massive government intervention, state and federal, throughout the century; in particular, an artificial boosting of demand coupled with an artificial restriction of supply. The result has been accelerating high prices and deterioration of patient care. And next, socialized medicine could easily bring us to the vaunted medical status of the Soviet Union: everyone has the right to free medical care, but there is, in effect, no medicine and no care."
Related Topics: Medicine, Prices
Health Care, by Michael F. Cannon, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Discusses various aspects of healthcare from a libertarian perspective: control of contagious diseases, self-directed treatment, occupational licensing, sale of human organs, health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid
"Health care represents a special area of public policy for libertarians, although not for the reasons typically offered in support of government intervention. In limited circumstances, a substantial number of libertarians support state-sponsored coercion to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In the absence of violence, theft, tortious injury, fraud, or breach of contract, however, libertarians reject the use of coercion in health and medicine as immoral and counterproductive. ... Libertarians reject government intervention to remedy private health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, or addiction."
Related Topics: Health, Occupational Licensing
Health Insurance Scam, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Nov 2009
Explains why "health insurance" is not about health care, but rather medical care, is not insurance, how it came about, and why it has resulted in rising medical care costs
"When 1940s wartime economic controls prohibited pay increases for factory workers, the government allowed employers to provide medical coverage instead. Unlike wages, noncash benefits were not taxed and soon became part of labor negotiations. The tax advantage given to insurance versus cash wages brought forth ever more elaborate packages, which included coverage for uninsurable events, such as routine physical and dental exams."
In Defense of a Free Market in Health Care, by Robert D. Helmholdt, 16 Apr 2004
Explains why government health care reforms will not improve the status quo, recommending instead complete deregulation of the industry and reliance on the free market
"From a historical perspective, it’s interesting to note that as recently as the 1960s, low-cost health insurance was available to virtually everyone in America, including people with existing medical problems. Doctors made house calls. A hospital stay cost only a few days' pay. Drugs were relatively inexpensive. And charity hospitals were available to take care of families who couldn’t afford to pay for health care."
Medicare Rx Reform: The Road to Medical Serfdom, by Sheldon Richman, Health Freedom Watch, 23 Jun 2003
Criticises the proposed (and later passed) addition of prescription drug coverage to Medicare and predicts the nationalization of health care
"There's been no free market in medicine for many years. Dubious patent laws interfere with competition. The Food and Drug Administration grossly raises the cost of developing new medicines. And government control through licensing and prescriptions cartelize the entire medical profession. If the reformers were really interested in lowering medical costs for retired people and everyone else, they'd be addressing those issues instead of paving the road to medical serfdom."
"Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss", by Sheldon Richman, 11 Jan 2008
Examines politics, including themes such as "hope" and "change" of the 2008 campaigns, and explains why politicians cannot be expected to lead the way to liberty
"The free-enterprise approach to medicine, to judge by this campaign, is to tinker with the existing state-riddled system in order to create incentives for private insurance companies to do what the politicians want them to do. ... No one points out that the politicians have imposed so many regulations and mandates and taken over so much of the financing, that there is barely a medical marketplace left. Most medical care is paid for by third parties, government or tax-privileged insurance companies, virtually relegating patients to the status of children and short-circuiting the cost-consciousness of consumers."
Related Topics: Politics, Songs, Voting
Milton Friedman RIP, by Walter Block, Mises Daily, 16 Nov 2006
In memoriam, focusing on Friedman's positives and including several personal recollections
"My favorite essay in his Capitalism and Freedom is chapter 9, where Milton rips into the AMA for its policies of restrictive entry into the field of medicine. With the Democrats taking over both houses of congress, and with that harridan Hillary the front runner for its presidential ticket in 2008, we will likely face some mighty battles against the imposition of fully socialized medicine. Thanks to this insightful analysis of Milton's, we will not be without intellectual ammunition in this regard."
Self-Deception about Medical Care, by Sheldon Richman, 15 Feb 2006
Discusses comments made by Christine Cassel, a geriatric medicine specialist, arguing for public support of Medicare
"Long before there was Medicare and Medicaid, many people of modest and low income received decent medical care through fraternal organizations. Lodges would sign contracts with doctors, in effect buying services in bulk that, throughout the year, would be distributed to members and their families at affordable prices. The system made medical care accessible while maintaining self-responsibility and cost-consciousness."
Related Topic: Government
Socialism and Medicine, Part 1, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, May 2008
Examines the economics of medical care in the United States over the past 60 years
"Until the post-World War II era, medical services were pay-as-you-go affairs. Those who could not afford the best care depended on charity hospitals or doctors who were willing to stretch out the payment structure. In other words, people purchased medical care the way that they purchased most other goods: directly and in close relationships with those people who provided the services."
Socialism and Medicine, Part 2, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, Jun 2008
Examines the economics of medical care in the United States, including the influence of third-party payers and comparisons to medical care in Canada
"It is clear that economic calculation is much clearer and more exact if one is not depending on third parties for payment, so it is not surprising that when insurance companies and government officials realized they did not have bottomless pits of cash to pay to medical professionals, they began to limit what they were willing to pay."
Socialism and Medicine, Part 3, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, Jul 2008
Further examination of medical care in the United States, analyzing the calls for "mandates" for universal health care
"Because medical care has become a tool of the political classes, there is no way under the current system ... that it can develop as it would in a free market. Either medical professionals will throw more resources at medical care than are demanded in the market (the U.S. system) or they will throw fewer resources than for what people would be willing to pay, if they legally could do so (Canada, Great Britain, and other industrialized countries)."
Related Topic: Free Market
Socialized Medicine in a Wealthy Country, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 2 Dec 2006
Discusses the view of socialized medicine held by left-socialists, examining the problems that existed in Soviet-controlled countries as well as current U.S. problems, and urges for a "complete separation of health and state"
"With the Democrats taking charge in Congress, we will surely hear talk of mandatory national health insurance, more spending for health care for the poor and elderly, and more taxes on individuals and business to pay for the whole scheme. This is admittedly not that different from what Republicans have been doing since taking over. In some ways, Republicans are even worse, driving us to socialism in the name of market reform and other sloganeering. Either way, we are stuck with a system that is moving the health sector ever more into the hands of the state."
Substance, not style, by Daniel Koffler, 9 Feb 2008
Contrasts several of presidential candidate Obama's issue positions with those of Hillary Clinton and argues his approach could be called left-libertarianism
"Obama's preference for reducing healthcare costs while preserving the freedom to choose whether or not to participate in the healthcare system, as against Clinton's (and Edwards's) insistence on mandating participation, is not a one-off discrepancy without broader implications. Rather, Obama's language of personal choice and incentive is a reflection of the ideas of his lead economic advisor ... Goolsbee promotes programmes to essentially democratise the market ... No wonder, then, that Obama's healthcare plan is specifically designed to give people good reason to buy in, without coercing them."
The Affordable Care Act Doesn't Go That Way, by Sheldon Richman, 1 Nov 2013
Examines the consequences of Obamacare from the perspective of basic economics (human action) and its unintended consequences
"Barack Obama and his allies saw a problem: some people can't afford or qualify for medical insurance. But instead of investigating how market forces might currently be thwarted from addressing this problem, they used government (the blunt weapon of aggressive force) to decree that insurance companies — which are already largely creatures of the state — must accept all applicants regardless of their health (guaranteed issue) and must charge the unhealthy the same price as they charge the healthy (community rating); that is, premiums may not reflect actual risk, converting insurance into a covert transfer program."
The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, by Milton Friedman, 16 Nov 1991
From keynote address at Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform; examines why, 20 years after Friedman's admonition against Nixon's drug war, the government continues its attempts at enforcement, in spite of the observable, predicted results
"We have major problems in medical care. Total costs for medical care have risen from four percent of the national income to thirteen percent in forty years. Why? Again, because the government has increasingly socialized medical care and there is a very strong movement to go all the way to a complete socialization of medical care. Largely as a result of greater government involvement, the cost of a day spent in the hospital, cost per patient day, was twenty-six times as high in 1989, after adjustment for inflation, as it was in 1946."
The Economic Way of Thinking about Health Care, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Feb 2015
Discusses the voicing of opinions on economic subjects without having knowledge of economics, the state of the health care and insurance industries and posits possible solutions
"... just because government can't provide universal high-quality health care, that doesn't mean there's no other way to achieve it. The way to do that is to remove all the impediments to the production and provision of medical and insurance services that have accumulated over many years in the form of privileges that restrict competition. This includes occupational licensing and accreditation, facility permits, protectionist and market-narrowing regulations (such as FDA requirements), patents, tax distortions, and more."
Related Topics: Prices, Taxation
The Invisible Hand Is a Gentle Hand, by Sharon Harris, 14 Sep 1998
Defends the free market and individual liberty, quoting among others Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Jefferson, David and Milton Friedman, John Lott, Isabel Paterson, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, John Stossel and Walter Williams
"A while back, I saw a TV news show about a new drug the FDA was considering for approval. There were people, some of them in wheelchairs, begging — literally begging — for the drug, which had helped many of them and which for some was their last chance. Tears were streaming down their faces. The pious committee of doctors sat around a table and voted not to give the drug to these people because the government had not yet proven its effectiveness. 'It's for your own good,' one of them said to the sick people. Later, one member of the committee explained to the reporter that they didn't want to 'give false hope to these people.'"
The Liberty Manifesto, by P. J. O'Rourke, May 1993
Remarks at a gala dinner celebrating the opening of the Cato Institute's new headquarters
"Health care is too expensive, so the Clinton administration is putting a high-powered corporate lawyer in charge of making it cheaper. (This is what I always do when I want to spend less money — hire a lawyer from Yale.) If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free."
The Many Monopolies, by Charles W. Johnson, 24 Aug 2011
Describes four ways in which markets are distorted by government interventions, explains Tucker's "Four Monopolies", examines five present-day monopolies and discusses Tucker's libertarian views
"The Health Care Monopoly is a ripple effect of other monopolies but merits special notice because of the all-consuming growth of the medical sector and because health care and insurance so profoundly shape decisions about jobs, money, and financial planning. ... The FDA and medical licensing provide a form of regulatory protectionism, constraining the supply of doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals, concentrating profits and further ratcheting costs. A medical need can become a catastrophic cost, effectively requiring comprehensive insurance."
The Primacy of Freedom, by Brian Summers, The Freeman, Feb 1988
One of over 20 essays in the anthology Ideas on Liberty: Essays in Honor of Paul L. Poirot (1987), discussing why the freedom philosophy and economic and moral education are important
"Consider ... medical care. I marvel at the advances in medicine and medical technology, and I applaud those who freely contribute their time and wealth to support medical care and research. ... But ... it is important to give some thought to the social system which creates the wealth we contribute, as well as consider the institutions which best facilitate an adequate diet, sanitation, technological, biological, and chemical advances, and which foster a spirit of open inquiry. It also is instructive to consider first-hand reports of people who have. witnessed the appalling medical systems in totalitarian states."
The War On Drugs Is Lost, by William F. Buckley Jr., Steven B. Duke, Joseph D. McNamara, Ethan A. Nadelmann, Kurt Schmoke, Robert W. Sweet, Thomas Szasz, National Review, 12 Feb 1996
Symposium with essays from William F. Buckley Jr., drug policy researcher Ethan A. Nadelmann, Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, former chief of police Joseph D. McNamara, judge Robert W. Sweet, psychiatrist Thomas Szasz and law professor Steven B. Duke
"Among the sins of the drug warriors, I view the following as especially important: ... turning doctors into drug-monopolists (by making the purchase of most drugs, especially 'pleasure-producing' drugs, illegal without a physician's prescription), and perverting the medical criteria of disease and treatment (by defining certain 'bad' choices as diseases, and certain 'good' coercions as treatments); ... converting the relationship between doctor and patient from a contract between two responsible adults into a domination - dependence relationship;"
What Crisis?, by Scott McPherson, 18 Sep 2006
"There's no crisis here that hasn't been created by government interventionism. So-called patients' rights advocates claim that health-care workers have an ethical obligation to serve their patients. ... Those who feel that their religious liberty is being violated for being asked to perform tasks contrary to their beliefs are likewise missing the mark."
Related Topic: Rights
Why is Medical Care so Expensive?, by Hans Sennholz, Mises Daily, 22 Aug 2006
Discusses various explanations given for the explosion in medical expenses and then focuses on some of the more likely culprits behind the increased costs
"Few observers dare to state that spiraling health-care costs are the inevitable consequence of a 1965 Social Security amendment molding Medicare and Medicaid. ... Surely, it has saved some lives but also may have cost some. It has doubled, tripled, and quadrupled many phases of the health-care industry but also kept other service industries smaller than they would have been in a free service economy. ... But there cannot be any doubt that the massive injection of political funds and the growing role of legislators and regulators have radically changed the very nature and structure of the health-care industry."
Related Topics: Politics, Taxation, Technology
Why We Need More 'Uninsured' Americans, by Carla Howell, 13 Apr 2006
"Neither patients nor providers have incentive to keep costs down. This encourages doctors to prescribe procedures you don't need — raising costs for insurance companies. They respond in turn by raising the price of your premiums, raising the amount you must pay for co-pays and deductibles, and reducing the services they cover."
Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticises the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasising some issues and prioritising others
"The Left believes this is the answer: equal access to the health care system for all Americans — no one denied for financial reasons, in a single-payer system. Socialized health care seems very idealistic, and as such, appeals to many people. However, as Milton Friedman taught us, there is no such thing as a free lunch — in health care or anywhere else. We know the single-payer system means health care rationing through queuing up in long lines for expensive treatments and denial of some services to many of the elderly as too expensive."
Your Money or Your Life: Tackling Rising Costs in Health Care, by David J. Theroux, 19 Jan 1984
Discusses the trend of rising healh care costs and attributes it to regulation, particularly licensing, and the proliferation of third-party payers, both Medicare and Medicaid as well as group insurance plans
"While life itself may be priceless, it is possible to assign a cost to its upkeep—and that cost is rising rapidly. ... As societies become wealthier and people live longer, it is logical to expect an increase in the total demand for health care. But it does not follow that individual services should radically rise in price. Two main factors have contributed to skyrocketing medical prices. The first is regulation of the medical industry, probably the most regulated business in America. ... But the last 40 years have seen the rise of another factor that has caused the dramatic and continuing acceleration of costs—third-party payments."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall!, by Chuck Asay, Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, 10 Jan 2008
Non Sequitur: Woo-hoo! I did it! I found a cure!!, by Wiley Miller, 24 Jun 2014


Mortal Peril: Our Inalienable Right to Health Care?
    by Richard Epstein, 1997
Partial contents: Introduction: Hard Truths and Fresh Starts - One: Access to Health Care - Positive Rights to Health Care - Limited Access - Comprehensive Care - Two: Self-Determination and Choice - Organ Transplantation - Deaths and Dying - Liability
The Dangers of Socialized Medicine
    by Richard Ebeling (Editor), Jacob Hornberger (Editor), The Future of Freedom Foundation, 1994
Collection of essays by Ebeling, Hornberger, Dominick T. Armentano, Williamson M. Evers, Milton Friedman, Lawrence W. Reed, Sheldon Richman, David B. Rivkin Jr., Thomas S. Szasz, Lawrence D. Wilson and Jarret B. Wollstein


How Government Solved the Health Care Crisis - Animation, by Tomasz Kaye, 11 Aug 2016
Based on Roderick Long's essay "How Government Solved the Health Care Crisis: Medical Insurance that Worked — Until Government 'Fixed' It", Formulations, Winter 1993-94

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Health care" as of 26 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.