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Medical Freedom Zones: Health Care’s Reset Button

When Ben Barr and I began to conceptualize the medical freedom zone—an area where doctors can provide care and conduct research governed by stable, predicable laws and private contracts—my attitude was, admittedly, “Well, why not?” I initially believed that the project’s benefits would lie in its parts rather than the whole. For example, one part of the paper—published today as our latest Liberty Brief— is a detailed examination of tort reform, a very heated issue that many Wyoming legislators would like to revisit. Small steps in the direction of freedom can go a long way over time—after all, our health care system did not become socialist overnight.

Now, with the Medical Freedom Zones paper complete, I still say “Well, why not?” But my focus is entirely different: why not take the big step? Why not carve out a few geographic zones where we give health care freedom a chance? What’s stopping us?

Well, as we say in the paper’s conclusion: “Policy papers do not a system make.” This is a map for what could be a very long journey, but the route is clear: Wyoming (or any state) can utilize medical freedom zones, and Native American tribes can as well, perhaps far more easily. Not only could a freedom zone give doctors the ability to escape ridiculous licensing requirements and the ominous shadow of the trial lawyers and tort law, it would extend health care options and cost savings to patients.

And it’s ultimately patients we’re most concerned with. Since successfully supporting the Health Care Freedom Amendment in the 2011 Legislative Session, we’ve looked for many ways to make health freedom a reality once the amendment is ratified by the people of Wyoming next November. Given the tangled web of bureaucracy, state-federal dependency, and progressive mantra, we believe that hitting the proverbial reset button is both politically possible and could prove to be the key to free market health care: after all, just as companies compete, so do legal systems. And medical freedom zones would enter the race with the distinct advantage of having to provide what patients want rather than what bureaucrats demand.

Medical Freedom Zones was just over a year in the making. We revisited the working paper several times before deciding to publish it, in order to ensure that a concept that is very outside-the-box can actually be established, either in a state like Wyoming or on Native American tribal land. With the map drawn, it’s time to hit the reset button and start a new journey.

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017
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