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O’Reilly: Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act has just ended, and the President has managed to persuade 7 million Americans sign up for the program. The Act, which will create a healthcare exchange marketplace, has been met with opposition since its inception. Earlier this week Tea Party members voiced their opposition to the affordable care act and similar government subsidize healthcare programs. They took to the streets in Montpelier, Vermont, outside the capital, to protest Act 48. In May of 2011 Vermont passed Act 48, which put the state on the path towards implementing a universal and unified health care system that covers all Vermonters.
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O’Reilly: Let’s get started then. I think we can all agree the goal of the healthcare system is to properly allocate the resources: medication, treatments, and health care professional’s time. This is what the Act tries to accomplish. Mrs. Bachmann, why then do you, your party, and protestors like those in Vermont so strongly oppose the so aptly coined ObamaCare act?
Bachmann: Well Bill it comes down to the question of when do markets work? And when do they fail? In the case of ObamaCare, the market will fail. A market works when it has the right producers making a product, the right consumers getting the product, and the right amount of the product produced. When all these factors are met the market works. In the case of the healthcare market, for the right consumer to be met, every person who is willing to pay the price of health care, must be able to get it. That is if they need medication, or to see a doctor, they are able to obtain those resources. And every producer such as doctors, who want to sell their product relative to the costs of doing so, will do so. For the right amount to be met, the market must supply an amount of healthcare equal to the demand for said health care. If all three conditions are met, then the market is what economists call ‘efficient’. The problem with this market, just like any other market, is how to allocate the scarce resources. For example doctors only have so much time to treat patients. In the healthcare market, time is a scarce resource. Which is why a market based approach makes more sense. Those who want it more, and are willing to pay more, will get the resources.
O’Reilly: Expound upon that if you will. What are the strengths of a market approach as opposed to government controlled healthcare?
Bachmann: In the market approach, only those who are willing to pay for the healthcare will get it. This will mean that the system won’t be too clogged. Only those patients are value the benefits of healthcare versus the costs of insurance will get health care. In the market, firms and consumers have info about costs they face and the benefits they reap. Their incentive thus is to maximize profits and happiness. This creates the most efficient allocation of resources. Patients are less likely to waste a doctor’s time with a menial problem. Because the costs are out of pocket money to visit the physician, only those who are willing to pay the costs will go. This will creating a sorting out system, leaving those who value the healthcare the most, with the healthcare.
Gerber: Let me stop you right and jump in if you don’t mind. In this market system, as you correctly pointed out, those who pay for healthcare will get it. But what you leave out is a situation in which an individual cannot afford healthcare. Does that mean that because they are less fortunate than you or I, that this individual does not have the right to visit a doctor’s office? This is why government is needed. The market based approach leads to...