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Harry Browne on Health Care

2000 Libertarian Nominee for President


Patient Rights only needed because of govt HMO subsidies

In 1999, politicians pushed for a “Patients’ Bill of Rights,” supposedly to give patients certain privileges in dealing with HMOs. No one was pushing for a “Bill of Rights” to protect patients against doctors-or against druggists, appliance stores, computer makers, or gardeners. So how did HMOs become so powerful and dictatorial that their customers need protection?

In 1973 Congress passed the HMO Act-which subsidized HMOs and forced any company providing employee health insurance to offer an HMO as an option. This requirement was finally repealed in 1995, but by that time the government’s favored treatment had made HMOs the centerpiece of employer-sponsored health programs.

Once again, the politicians are seizing the opportunity to rescue us from their own handiwork.

Source: The Great Libertarian Offer, p.197 , Sep 9, 2000

Assisted suicide is a state issue, not federal

Q: Would Browne, if elected President, sign into law or veto a bill which establishes a “right to die” (assisted suicide)?

A: Browne would veto, on federal-state grounds. The 9th & 10th Amendments prohibit the federal government from taking on a lot of functions. A Browne presidency would include a lot of vetoes, in support of those Amendments.

Source: Phone interview with Jim Babka, Browne’s Press Secretary , Aug 9, 2000

Encourage AIDS cure by getting govt out of AIDS research

Q: : How much involvement should the government have in funding things like AIDS research?

A: I don’t believe it should have any. All of the really great advances that have taken place in science and medicine have taken place outside the government, with maybe the exception of the Manhattan Project. The first polio vaccine was developed privately, and the government vaccine came a few years later. And the money that goes through the government for research becomes political. And I can only imagine that if you didn’t have government soaking up so much research money, if you didn’t have people pressuring companies, if you didn’t have these amazing litigation liabilities, a cure for AIDS might have been found five or ten years ago. We need to get the government out of these things, because there is a tremendous demand for these cures -- not just for AIDS, but for cancer, heart disease, etc. Government cannot speed up the process. It can only slow it down.

Source: PlanetOut interview (planetout.com) , Jul 7, 2000

Get government out of health care & costs will plummet

Browne agrees that providing health care is not a responsibility of the federal government. He says, “By getting government out of the healthcare industry, healthcare costs will plummet, innovation will increase, and more people will have access to the healthcare they need.” Browne would not support increasing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes to help defer costs of Medicare and Medicaid.
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Prescription rules should be controlled by states, not FDA

Q: Your position on pharmaceutical medications? A: I do not believe that you should need a prescription from a doctor to get pharmaceuticals from a drug store. It should be your decision to make with your doctor. But it’s a state issue, not a federal issue.
Source: The Alan Colmes Show, WEBD NY 1050 AM , Aug 26, 1999

FDA has caused needless deaths by delaying medications

I would get rid of the FDA. People are dying as a result of federal regulation: Keeping beta-blockers off the market for years when they were on the market in other countries, for example. You should have the right to decide for yourself , based on books, magazines, experts of all kinds. If you like the FDA, then if the FDA is abolished, the same people from the FDA will form a company and tell you what drugs to take.
Source: The Alan Colmes Show, WEBD NY 1050 AM , Aug 26, 1999

Doctors & insurers should regulate drugs, not FDA

There should be regulation of drugs, but not by the government, because everything you turn over to the government becomes a political issue. Regulation would be by people that you choose. For example, your insurance company would say “We won’t pay for this because we don’t know if it’s safe.” There would be no coercive regulations - nobody would be saying “you can’t smoke medical marijuana” or “you can’t take laetrile” or “you can’t take this medicine because we haven’t decided to approve it yet.”
Source: The Alan Colmes Show, WEBD NY 1050 AM , Aug 26, 1999

Against tobacco lawsuits funding more health programs

Who cares about the tobacco lawsuits and the steep new cigarette taxes? Consider: the government taxes you for all sorts of health services. And then, when the day of reckoning arrives, it finds someone else to pay the bill. And, once the tobacco suits started to succeed, city governments began suing gun manufacturers to “recover” the costs city governments incur as a result of gun violence. Government appears to be able to undertake new programs without tapping the ordinary taxpayer.
Source: www.harrybrowne2000.org/ “Govt Doesn’t Work?” , Mar 19, 1999

Abolish FDA; get govt out of health care

The federal government is the biggest barrier to American health. Abolish the FDA so that life-saving medicines are available sooner. The federal government has no Consitutional authority to be involved in health care.
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test , May 1, 1996

Medicare has caused higher health costs

Medicare provides a good example [of how government doesn’t work]. It was created in 1965 to make it easier for the elderly to get health care. But by reducing the patient’s out-of-pocket costs, it increased the demand for doctors and hospitals. And it reduced the supply of those services by requiring doctors and other medical personnel to use their time and attention handling paperwork and complying with regulations. So the price of medical care rose sharply as the demand soared and the supply diminished.
As a result, the elderly now pay from their own pockets over twice as much for health care (after adjusting for inflation) than they did before Medicare began. And most older people now find it harder to get adequate medical service. Naturally, the government points to the higher costs and shortages as proof that the elderly would be lost without Medicare--and that government should be even more deeply involved.
Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by Harry Browne, p. 15 , Jul 2, 1995

1992 Health Plan all about coercion, not compassion

In the health care debate of 1992-4, words like compassion, right, need, & fairness showed up frequently. But a number of relevant words were ignored. For example, I never heard the words force or coercion in public discussion about the issue. Yet the Health Security Act, the President’s 1993 proposal for universal health insurance, had a great deal to do with force. There are some revealing terms in the proposal--such as prison (which shows up 7 times), penalty (111 times), fine (6), enforce (83), prohibit (47), mandatory (24), limit (231), obligation (51), require (901), and so on.

But coercion is nothing new in government-run health care, Medicare already has plenty of fines and penalties. The health care debate has ignored the most important factor: government involvement in health care means forcing people and institutions to do what they don’t want to do. And such plans never work out as promised.

Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by Harry Browne, p.101 , Jul 2, 1995

Government can improve health care by getting out of it

    Government can help the health-care system only by getting out of it. It has no more ability to make us well than it does to make us rich. Here’s a laundry list of things to be washed out:
  1. Abolish the FDA. Let people decide for themselves, with the help of their doctors and private testing agencies they choose for themselves, which medicines are safe enough for them.
  2. Save Medicare by turning it over to private companies. Let seniors pick their own polices. Let them earn as much money as they want without losing benefits.
  3. Abolish Medicaid. Let each state’s citizens decide for themselves whether they want a government program to provide health care to the needy.
  4. Solve the portability problem by making all medical expenses totally deductible from taxable income.
  5. Get state governments to stop imposing conditions on health insurance. Don’t require individuals to pay for benefits they don’t want. Don’t force insurance companies to take customers they don’t want.
Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by H. Browne, p.109-10 , Jul 2, 1995

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Health Care.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Harry Browne.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Harry Browne.
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Page last updated: Mar 13, 2014