One of the arguments commonly made by supporters of government-run health care is that free people are incapable of finding or creating ways to meet their needs for affordable health care. Of course, anyone who understands free-market economics knows this is nonsense. The truth is people are quite capable of meeting their own needs for health care if the government gets out of the way!
One example of how free people can work together to meet their needs for health insurance is a "health sharing ministry." As the name suggests, these organizations are comprised of people whose religious faith teaches them they have a responsibility to care not just for themselves, but for their fellow citizens. Members of these ministries agree to help pay other member's medical bills.
Unlike government-run, or government-favored, health care programs, health sharing ministries do not restrict their members's choice of doctors.
The health sharing ministry model could be applied to non-religious organizations, such as business groups like a local Chamber of Commerce, neighborhood associations,or labor unions. In fact, these type of organizations (called friendly societies) used to be a common means of providing health care and other aide before they where displaced by the growth of the welfare state.
The one drawback to health sharing ministries is that, since they are not insurance, members are unable to establish a Health savings Account (HSAs). HSAs allow individuals to save money tax-free to pay for health expenses if they also have a high-deductible insurance plan.
Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly has introduced legislation (HR 1752) that would allow members of health sharing ministries to establish an HSA without having to purchase a separate insurance policy. Campaign for Liberty members who support encouraging private efforts to provide health care should call their Representatives and ask they cosponsor HR 1752.
Dean Clancy has more information on Health Sharing Ministries here.
Here is some more information on the history of friendly societies.
Tags: Obamacare, health care