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In a system of free-market healthcare, prices for healthcare goods and services are set freely by agreement between patients and health care providers, and the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority. A free market contrasts with a controlled market, in which government intervenes in supply and demand through non-market methods such as laws creating barriers to market entry or directly setting prices.
Advocates of free-market healthcare contend that systems like single-payer healthcare and publicly funded healthcare result in higher costs, inefficiency, longer waiting times for care, denial of care to some, and overall mismanagement.
Skeptics argue that healthcare as an unregulated commodity invokes market failures not present with government regulation. Individuals with pre-existing conditions would in some cases not be able to afford healthcare. Hospitals providing unreimbursed charity care might face bankruptcy. Selling health care as a commodity leads to both unfair and inefficient systems with poorer individuals being unable to afford preventive care.
The health freedom movement supports free choice in healthcare. The libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute argues in favor of deregulation of the medical profession and healthcare sector. Some activists are politically left-wing, whilst the former Republican congressman and 2008 U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul, who supports a free-market healthcare system, calls himself a free market libertarian. A leading supporter of the movement, Paul introduced the Health Freedom Protection Act in the U.S. Congress in 2005.
- John Stossel (October 16, 2006). "Health Insurance Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be". ABC News. Retrieved September 27, 2009.
- How Medical Boards Nationalized Health Care - Henry Jones - Mises Institute
- Ron Paul candidate platform, The Boston Herald] Published 27 December 2007
- "Ron Paul 2008 Hope for America" Accessed 28 September 2007.
- Health Freedom Protection Act Introduced in US Congress
- Free Speech and Dietary Supplements