Blaine Harden's article on the Japanese health care system ("Health Care in Japan: Low-Cost, for Now," Washington Post, 09/07/09, A1, A4), while provocative, does not give adequate coverage to the possibility that the free market, albeit regulated when necessary by the State to ensure strict compliance with standards and fair competition, has the potential to deal more effectively with the situation than what is now currently in place in the Empire of Japan. Harden cites three aspects of the Japanese system that seem to be responsible for controlling cost: 1) banning insurance company profits, 2) limiting doctor fees, and 3) accepting limitations on health care.
All three could be handled better by the free market and avoid the dangers cited: 1) Reorganizing insurance companies on a mutual basis with the policyholders as shareholders with the full rights of private property would return profits to the insured. 2) Doctor fees would be lowered in response to free competition and patient access to information. 3) The profit motive has been proved to motivate the search for lower-cost and more effective alternatives, whether for manufacturing widgets or providing health care.