Jay Bookman in the Atlanta Journal Constitution attacked the free market without defining it or even seeming to understand it. A free market occurs spontaneously without government interference. In health care a free market would have individuals owning their health insurance policies and it would save them money to pay for most of their health care out of pocket.
Instead, we have a strange system where employers own insurance policies. This got started during World War II when the government interfered in the health care market that was relatively free at the time. They did this by giving tax breaks to that part of a workers pay that goes to health insurance premiums when the employers owned the insurance policies.
It has resulted in some weird things such as workers losing their health insurance when they change jobs. This often leaves workers with pre existing problems without coverage. Another problem is that when people have job-based health insurance, the care seems free so they over utilize. Providers respond to the demand with more care and prices go up.
When this happened in the late 1980s, the employers demanded that the insurance companies control the costs. The insurance companies responded with managed care where insurance companies dictate to patients what care they will receive.
Bookman makes the argument that health care consumers do not have the knowledge to make rational decisions. He concludes, “there is no way on earth that an individual consumer can engage with the medical-industrial complex on anything like an equal basis.”
This is like saying that you cannot buy a car on an equal basis with the auto industrial complex. His idea seems to be that you would give your money to an automaker and let them decide what car is best for you.