The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Healthcare should be seen through capitalistic lens

3 min read
The Affordable Care Act that President Barrack Obama signed back in March 2010 will soon go into effect.



On January 1, 2014, citizens who previously did not have health care coverage will then be covered. Most people are looking at this as a tax issue, but they should be looking at it from the perspective of a capitalist.

In a recent YouTube video, New York Times bestselling author John Green spoke about capitalism and the new health care reform. His video, “Bigger Pizzas: A Capitalist Case for Health Care Reform” has almost 300,000 views.

“For too long, we have privileged employees over entrepreneurs, when we need entrepreneurs to maximize economic growth,” said Green.

He likened the idea of our economy to a pizza: richer people get larger slices, poorer people get smaller slices. Even so, when innovation and competition exist, the pizza (the economy) gets bigger and benefits everybody.

Green’s main point was that he wants to “make the world safe for competition.” When someone chooses to work for a company already in business, they are not adding to the competitive market America was founded on.

That is not to say working for established companies is bad, but if someone is making that decision solely because they would get health care, it’s unfair both to the employee and to the economy.

They would be choosing between their dream job, whatever it may be, and their health. As Green says, “That is a ridiculous choice. And that ridiculous choice is lived by tens of millions of Americans, has inhibited innovation, prohibited job creation and it has made the pizza [the economy] smaller than it ought to be.”

Most people seem to be concerned about when it comes to this new healthcare reform is taxes, but citizens of the U.S. pay more taxes for private healthcare right now than citizens do in countries with “free” healthcare, such as the United Kingdom or Canada.

This is not because the U.S. has worse health habits or because they use doctors more; when countries with free healthcare begin searching for companies to buy medical goods from, it enlarges the market and prices drop as those companies battle for the sale.

Citizens, cannot, or choose not to, negotiate for themselves, due to what is called “inelastic demand:” when dealing with healthcare related situations, citizens do not negotiate due to the fact that they need the goods or services they offer.

Healthcare providers can get away with whatever they charge, because there is no competition in the marketplace.

Hopefully, once the health care bill goes into effect insurance companies will have the added competition and prices will be reduced.

As Green said in his video, “Career decisions should be about finding the place where your talents meet the world’s needs, not about finding the place where you can get health insurance.”

People should not have to be concerned about whether or not they are going to go bankrupt by doing the things they love; the health care reform will help people who want to branch out into their own interests and will, therefore, be making the pizza much, much bigger.