Problems in our mixed statism/freedom healthcare system are often attributed to the profit motive. For example, the problem of the Branco's loss of health insurance prompted this comment:
There will never be true healthcare reform without taking the profit out of it.
I left these comments:
But, what is profit?
Properly understood, profit is the reward that business earns by successfully delivering products and services to consumers who value them enough to willingly to pay a market price that is higher than the business's cost of production. Profit stands for value-added. "Profit" does not mean appropriating money by hook or by crook—i.e., by force or fraud, a la Al Capone or Bernie Madoff or breach of contract. It is imperative for our freedom and our health to learn the difference. Profit is earned through productive work and voluntary trade, and nothing else. The government's proper job is to protect the right to pursue profit and keep whatever profit we do earn, in any field, while protecting us from the money-appropriating criminals.
Healthcare is certainly more valuable than many other things. But that doesn't change the economic or moral principles involved. There is no essential difference between healthcare and any other industry: It is man-made, requiring someone's productive work—in the case of the businessman, the coordination of all of the factors of production that goes into delivering the product or service. Healthcare profits earned in this fashion are morally noble.
When you say you want the profit taken out of healthcare, you are saying that those with the power to deliver the means to heal you when you are sick or injured are your slaves who must provide it free of charge. You are demanding that the government become Al Capone or Bernie Madoff, on your behalf. You are essentially saying that you have right to profit from the slave labor of others, by means of forcibly depriving others of the profitable fruits of their productive work.
Does this mean you have to accept profit-making against your moral objections? Not in a free market. In a free market, you are free to refuse to purchase any healthcare product or service produced by profit-seeking enterprises. Any other method of "taking the profit out of it" is the method of a plain parasitical thug.
I would add that profits are earned through voluntary trade—the win-win, mutually self-interested transaction between human beings in which value in exchanged for value, without self-sacrifice or unearned gain on anyone's part.
I often hear people assert that it is not right to profit off of sick people. But producers of healthcare profit off of the products and services that heal the sick. It is the statists who exploit the sick for political power over healthcare that actually "profit" off of the sick.
To be continued.
"Prime" Controversy: Profit vs. Patient Health?