Our ‘Free-Market’ Health Care System Isn’t Really Very Free
Samaritan Ministries International Helps Christians Find Greater Health Care Freedom
PEORIA, Ill.—Free-market principles are used in many aspects of U.S. business, with the concepts of fair competition and no monopolies paramount, but they aren’t followed when it comes to American health care.
Samaritan Ministries International, one of the largest health care sharing ministries in America, works to help the nearly quarter of a million individual members apply Biblical, economic and political principles to their health care.
In a recent blog post, Samaritan highlighted “Do We Have a Free Medical System?,” a piece by Hunter Lewis for the Mises Institute, which challenges the notion that American health care is driven by free-market principles, as some claim. Instead, Lewis describes the system as “crony capitalist” medicine, where powerful special interests join with the government to create “legally mandated monopolies,” ultimately “thwarting free-market competition.”
“Not only does Samaritan Ministries enable our members to directly share financially in the medical burdens of their brothers and sisters in Christ, also while praying for them and sending notes of encouragement, but Samaritan also provides the tools, knowledge and information so Christians can rethink the status quo of health care,” said Anthony Hopp, vice president of external relations for Samaritan Ministries. “For decades, many Americans have accepted the state of health care as-is, not realizing there could be a better way or that real transformation could happen with the right commitment to change.”
Lewis goes on to write that many patients are frustrated that medical prices are kept hidden. Most don’t find out what the charge is until after the service has been delivered. There actually are prices, but they are controlled to make profits for those involved, he said. After delving into topics such as the American Medical Association, Medicare, drug companies and the FDA, Lewis added, “this is not a free market system nor anything remotely close to one.”
Samaritan members approach health care differently, by “bearing one another’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 | ESV) and also by lifting up fellow Christians in prayer and support.
Each month, Samaritan Ministries’ 76,493 member households (248,442 individuals) pray for one another and send financial shares directly to other member families. In this way, Samaritan members share $26 million in medical needs each month through an effective, affordable and God-honoring ministry for Christians.
Many Samaritan members choose direct primary care (DPC) practices, some of which list specific prices for specific procedures and labs right on their websites. This way, self-pay patients, like those who are members of health care sharing ministries, know the prices upfront.
Medical professionals leading DPC practices can offer their patients lower prices because they are not bound by costly insurance requirements. These doctors can also spend more time with each patient and take on fewer patients annually, because they are not forced to accept an unrealistic number of patients to cover overhead.
Last year, Samaritan Ministries added a second membership level, Samaritan Basic, which offers a lower monthly share coupled with a higher initial unshared amount than the original Samaritan Classic, giving both current and future members another option for choosing what they believe is best for their families—and their budgets. Monthly shares for Samaritan Basic start as low as $100 for one person, $200 for two people and $250 for a family of any size, depending on age. Some guidelines differ between Samaritan Basic and Samaritan Classic; contact Samaritan Ministries for details or visit this link.