Reflections on Healthcare in the Philippines

Even as a libertarian who embraces voluntary trade and competitive markets, healthcare is a very tempting issue that from time to time skews my principles to lean left. On paper, a program like Medicare (a US public program) seems noble and fair -- healthcare for all senior citizens.

And hey, how about single-payer or universal coverage? Again, tempting. My cousin in Canada says she didn't spend a single cent on her thyroid operation. In fact, they spent only for the hospital parking fee. They even spend more when they bring their dog to the vet.



The anti-trust and oligopolies in our healthcare system is disgusting. In a country where some of the premiere hospitals like Asian Hospital, Makati Med, Cardinal Santos are owned by just one man (who happens to also own companies in media, telecom, mining, and other industries), it is tempting to be optimistic that there could be a benevolent governing body, even guided by civil society or NGOs, that could be a watchdog against these kinds of monopolies.

It's the same with pharma. It's the same with health insurance. My problem is that the State and our model of government actually allows for an environment that encourages monopolies.

(SEE ALSO: The Tragedy of Money As We Know It)

I care very little about other issues. They cannot skew me. But healthcare talks directly about human life, specifically the life of my loved ones. And isn't this aligned with John Locke's natural rights to life, liberty, and property? Specifically, the right to be alive and to have access to just and fair healthcare and medication. Healthcare and medication that is not owned solely by cronies and oligarchs. Healthcare and medication prices that should be fairly dictated by a competitive market, in a marketplace where wages do not depreciate over time due to inflation.

You see, there are simple libertarian solutions that could instantly decrease the price of healthcare and medication.

For example, is it in the interest of the people to place tariffs on hospital equipment and machines that could save lives? How about imported medication that could compete with local pharma to lower prices? Did you know that so many healthcare and pharma companies want to invest here but they can't because of our constitution?

Proponents of this kind of system would call this protectionism. Makes you question: who are they really protecting? And how much is the cost of this protection? Is it worth a human life?

And the crony pharma? Should they really be given rights to monopolize a molecule over an arbitrary amount of time? For instance, if you had the molecule to cure cancer, should an unelected bureaucrat be able to grant you monopoly and not allow other pharma to reverse engineer and compete?

I'm so philosophically desperate, that I would even look into the  Nordic Welfare Model -- why not explore and find compromise? I'm not endorsing a full government monopolization. I'm just throwing questions out there to spark discussions all with the objective of having a freer and more prosperous society.

I think in general, politics and politicians are heartless. And I believe that libertarianism does offer compassionate solutions. I don't know, really. Sometimes, there are circumstances that make me reflect.

Apologies for any typos or factual errors, my secret santa got me a bottle of Jack D and I decided to enjoy some of it myself for an above-average nightcap to forget how disgusting our healthcare system is.

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