Bill Lindsay Blames “Market” for Ills of Political Controls

To readers of, news that Bill Lindsay, chair of Colorado’s “208” Healthcare Commission, disdains and misrepresents free markets comes as no surprise.

Lindsay recently blamed “the market” for the problems caused by political force in medicine. David Montero reports for the Rocky Mountain News:

No one would be required to participate in a public or private health care plan under a proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution. …

But Bill Lindsay, the chairman of the panel, said there was a simple reason that the politically disparate body agreed to make mandated coverage a recommendation.

“The reason is what we see in the marketplace is that the market for health insurance isn’t working,” Lindsay said.

He also found the idea that people would pay cash for services to be unrealistic.

“The notion that people would pay cash for services is ludicrous because of the cost of health care,” he said.

However, we do not have a free market in health insurance, and that’s the reason why it’s so expensive. Instead, we have a system dominated by political controls. That is also the reason why health-care costs have skyrocketed.

Paul Hsieh, MD, replies in the comments:

Bill Lindsay is completely wrong that the market for health insurance isn’t working. Our biggest problem is that we don’t have a free market but instead a massively distorted market caused by years of ill-considered government regulations. It is precisely because of the government that people can’t afford reasonable health insurance. It is not the free market has failed but the government system. Hence, the solution isn’t more government, but removing the burdensome government restrictions and letting the free market actually work.

For more information about this topic, Colorado attorney Lin Zinser and I have written an article on health care history and policy entitled “Moral Health Care vs. ‘Universal Health Care'”. It has been published in the Winter 2007-2008 issue of the national journal, “The Objective Standard”.

We argue that the current crisis in American health care is the result of decades of government interference and violations of individual rights in health insurance and medicine. Hence the solution to the problem is not more government controls but instead to gradually and systematically transition to a rights-respecting, fully free market in those industries.

Brian Schwartz, Ph.D., also chimes in:

Healthcare Reform Commission chair Bill Lindsey’s comments show that he either misunderstands why insurance is so expensive or deliberately misrepresents fundamental issues…

He wants to force Coloradans to buy politically-defined insurance because “the market for health insurance isn’t working.” But as my free-market proposal (at to the Commission explains, it’s not working because government controls have crippled it.

Federal tax policy deeply discounts employer-provided insurance. This locks us to our employer and the costly insurance plans they offer. Hence, insurance companies need not please us, as they know we must change jobs to buy a competitor’s product.

Mandated benefits laws force us to buy expensive policies with benefits we may not need. For example, a widowed wife must buy a policy that covers marital therapy, prostate cancer, and maternity. In Colorado these and other controls add between 20% to over 50% to premiums.

Politically-controlled medical insurance is a disease masquerading as its own cure.

Lindsay simply refuses to consider these facts.