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March 22, 2010

What is the difference between
gas stations and hospitals?


The Libertarian Party
What's the difference between a Gas Station and a Hospital?

Had the Republicans embraced Ron Paul in the 2008 elections, we would not be in this predicament today with the nationalization of ObamaCare seemingly a signature away from reality.

Had the Republicans under George W. Bush, while they controled both the House and the Senate, presented the States with a repeal of the 17th Amendment, we would not be in this predicament.

However, we must argue political points where they stand and it is still instructive to do as the Libertarian Party does and compare the way gas stations operate to the way hospitals operate.

Gas stations and Hospitals

1. Prices - The most obvious difference is price. Gas Stations have big signs advertising their prices so that you as a consumer can decide how much you are willing to pay without even slowing down along the highway. There are federal regulations that prohibit hospitals from advertising and competing based on prices.

2. Upfront Estimates - When you need a mechanic to replace your head gasket, he will give you an upfront estimate of the price. He will often give you a list of less expensive alternatives if they are available. When you ask a surgeon to replace your heart, there are federal regulations and AMA rules that prevent the distribution of price estimates.

3. Competition - If someone wants to build a Gas Station across the street from a competing Gas Station, its quite alright. If someone wants to build a hospital, they have to prove to the Federal Trade Commission that the hospital won't lower prices in the community or cause undue competition.

4. Monopoly - In the early 20th century, the federal government broke up a monopoly on oil and gasoline distribution. In the mid-20th century, they created a monopoly on hospitals and doctors because the American Medical Association said there were too many doctors, too much competition, and doctor's couldn't earn enough money.

5. Do It Yourself - When you go to the Gas Station, you can pay someone to fix your car and fill up your tank, or you can buy what you need to do it yourself. At a hospital or pharmacy, you can't make any decisions on what medications you can take, dosage levels, or treatments. You must have the "official" opinion of a state regulated doctor.

6. Choice - When shopping for mechanics, you can decide to hire your handy neighbor, or find someone with all the latest training and certifications. When shopping for doctors, your only choice is regulated by the state.

7. Purchasing Power - When you buy gasoline, you are paying for the gasoline you actually purchase (and a little extra for the small amount of theft). When you buy healthcare, your price includes a large government-imposed subsidy for those who can't afford it, thus making healthcare less affordable to more and more people each year.

So if you wanted to make healthcare cheaper what would you do?
  • Impose more rules or less rules?

  • Allow more competition or create a more restrictive monopoly?

  • Have the federal government regulate your local gas station or stop regulating your local hospital?

You can read further at The Problem.
You can read further at Guide to "Checks and Balances".
You can read further at The Solution.
Article located at:
Last Hope for America
Christian Libertarian: Harmonious Union
Church and State

The Christian Solution ©             First Release: March 15, 2008