An Open Letter to Justin Amash

Arvin Vohra

Thank you for taking the time to explain your reasons for your vote on TrumpCare, and for being one of the few congressmen who communicates directly with his constituents. Although we are from different parties, I have often presented you as an example of a member of GOP that could be trusted to fight for Liberty.

But over the last months, I have started to doubt that. Not because of this one vote, but because of your insistence on clinging to a broken, government run model of healthcare, and your odd refusal to promote the true, free market solutions that could make healthcare actually universal by lowering costs.

You and I know that even repealing ObamaCare entirely was just nibbling at the edges, an action that in no way threatened the status quo, in no way actually lowered the real cost of healthcare, in no way diminished the expensive and unjustifiable protections for big pharma. But Republicans could not even commit to that, and chose to barely nibble at the edges of ObamaCare.

We don’t need minor reforms on government insurance. We need a free market in healthcare, the kind we had in America when medicine was affordable, service was better, and personal interaction was present. Today’s advanced technology would have actually lowered the price even more without government interference, as technology has in every other industry.

We need to move past the government insurance model, which has only driven up the price of healthcare, to a free market model, which has consistently lowered price and improved quality.

In the last decades, the government-regulated insurance model, led by Medicare, has caused the EpiPen to increase in price from $100 to $600. Note that EpiPen is adrenaline inside of a simple delivery system, as simple as medical technology gets.

Laser eye surgery, on the other hand, is advanced, impressive, futuristic technology. In the last decades, price competition in the non-insurance market has lowered the price of laser eye surgery from several thousand dollars per eye to a few hundred dollars per eye.

The best thing about the free market is that kind of price competition. Combined with constant pressure to improve, that price competition gives us lower prices and higher quality in most industries. But not in healthcare.

But imagine if it could. Imagine if the drugs that today cost $80,000 cost $80. Here is how to make that happen:

1. Eliminate border protections for big pharma, and allow people to buy drugs from any country they want. Often, drug companies sell identical drugs for lower prices in foreign nations. Current rules prevent Americans from buying them. In other words, our tax dollars go to expensive customs enforcement that make our medicines more expensive. Eliminate that, and watch how quickly drug companies lower costs in America.

2. Eliminate the FDA efficacy requirement. It’s largely ignored by doctors anyway, who routinely prescribe drugs for off label uses. This will lower production and research costs dramatically, lowering prices. It will also finally make it economical for companies to produce drugs for rare diseases. Currently, high regulatory costs make it unaffordable to recoup losses on drugs for rare diseases, so cures are left unused on lab benches.

3. Eliminate the FDA entirely. Remember, in America, we buy medicines after consulting experts (doctors). They rely on journals, peer experience, and many other forms of review. No doctor just randomly prescribes from the list of drugs approved by the FDA for a given condition. The lower cost will encourage drug companies to not only produce cures for rare diseases, but also to produce new antibiotics as old ones phase out.

4. Eliminate the bizarre laws that prevent foreign doctors from practicing in America. Today, the best doctors in Switzerland, Britain, Germany, Japan, and Korea cannot legally practice medicine in America. That kind of policy serves AMA special interests at the expense of the American people. End it, and see how affordable medicine becomes.

5. Remove all restrictions on catastrophic insurance. Let people insure themselves against major issues, but buy regular healthcare out of pocket. As people suddenly become price sensitive, the price of medicine will plummet.

6. End Medicare, Obamacare, and Medicaid, and then remove restrictions on medical charities. Let those who can afford medicine become price sensitive, and see prices drop. Then, let charity help those who need it. If doctors without borders can do so much good elsewhere, let’s see how much good medical charity can do in America.

I ask you to do this: sponsor legislation for any or all of these, and fight in favor of it. Even if you are the only sponsor, show us that you truly care about liberty, that “Freedom” and “Liberty” aren’t just advertising buzzwords to you.

Let’s make medicine so cheap that anyone can afford it. Let’s replace the government-regulated insurance model with a free market in healthcare and charity. Let’s make healthcare truly universal through lower cost.


Arvin Vohra
Vice Chair
Libertarian Party