How Economic Freedom Promotes Better Health Care, Education and Environmental Quality

September 25, 2013

Economic freedom and prosperity go hand in hand with improved health and health care, better education, and a cleaner environment, say James M. Roberts, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and Ryan Olson, a research assistant at the Center for International Trade and Economics.

Instead of the coercive monopolization of health care through expensive and inefficient government programs, economic freedom can be applied to achieve positive health care outcomes by:

  • Eliminating barriers by removing subsidies and repealing laws that prevent individuals from purchasing health care services from market-based sources.
  • Increasing competition among bidders to help reduce cost trend and encourage innovation.
  • Decentralizing regulations, allowing for health care plans that fit the customer.

Education:

  • Empirical evidence indicates that the free market principles that underlie economic freedom are the most effective means of enhancing people's efforts to lift themselves out of poverty and earn their own success through hard work and entrepreneurship.
  • One of the most easily recognized indicators of the success of a society's provision of basic social goods is the literacy of its citizens.
  • Literacy is the foundation for continued success in advanced information-age economies as well as increased educational and economic achievement throughout the lifetimes of its citizens.

Environmental quality:

  • Critics of the free market sometimes complain that environmental degradation is the result of "market failure," whereby negative externalities are created through the private sector's production of goods and services for which individuals and firms are not held accountable.
  • Thus they defend the necessity of imposing government regulations to control these negative externalities.
  • But their arguments are hollow: Economically freer countries throughout the world continue to outperform their repressed counterparts on environmental protection.
  • The environment is also better protected when larger percentages of land and other real property are privately held and protected by a country's judicial system.

Source: James M. Roberts and Ryan Olson, "How Economic Freedom Promotes Better Health Care, Education and Environmental Quality," Heritage Foundation, September 11, 2013.

 

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