‘Wait Till It’s Free’ book tackles health care questions
Jed Stuber · Jul 01, 2015
How did our health care system get to be such a mess, and what can ordinary people do to navigate it? Why is health care often expensive, inefficient, and ineffective? What effect will the Affordable Care Act have on it? What are some of the little known bright spots in health care, offering solutions that you can take advantage of? These are just a few of the questions Wait Till It’s Free addresses.
Documentary maker and Samaritan member Colin Gunn teamed up with Samaritan Member Advocate Phil Olsson to write Wait Till It’s Free, a book that takes a look at health care using an approach similar to Colin’s film of the same name. First-hand accounts from regular Americans—patients, health care workers, businessmen—along with insight from health care experts—authors, doctors, politicians—are woven together to create a compelling story about health care than we can all learn from.
The title harkens back to the early 1990s push to pass a national health reform law. To point out how ridiculous it was to claim that the government could provide everyone free health care, columnist P.J. O’Rourke wrote, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”
As Colin captures a wide variety of perspectives on health care, several themes emerge. Wherever regulation is instituted or increased, perverse incentives are created and things worsen: third parties interfere and layers of bureaucracy multiply. Innovation stalls, quality declines, prices increase, corruption and cartels develop. Inversely, when freedom and competition are allowed, health care improves. Innovation is unleashed, quality affordable choices abound, and charity thrives.
Wait Till It’s Free also explores the little known history of health care. Deliberate attempts to eliminate freedom and nationalize health care date back more than a century. At each step along the way the industries that stood to benefit most lobbied heavily for increased regulations that allowed them to eliminate competitors and consolidate power. They are now some of the most powerful influences in America, and yet most Americans don’t realize it.
Even more concerning is the moral agenda being pushed through health care, a significant threat to religious freedom. Wait Till It’s Free explores the connections between the so called “pro-choice” movement and health care reform laws. Can a movement really be considered pro-choice when it seeks to force people to subsidize lifestyles they disagree with—from contraception, to abortion, to gender reassignment?
After presenting all these very serious concerns, Wait Till It’s Free goes on to explore some positive trends in health care. Direct primary care clinics and price-transparent surgery centers have cut out third parties. Not only do they keep third parties from interfering in the doctor-patient relationship, but they also provide high quality services at affordable prices. As tax-subsidized programs designed for the poor continue to deteriorate, charitable clinics are leading by providing affordable and free care. And yes, as Samaritan members themselves, Colin and Phil present Samaritan Ministries as an innovative solution to the health care challenges we face.
The takeaway message is that when we have the faith to apply Biblical principles to health care and the courage to cut out third-party interference, we can receive much better health care.