The United States has a decent medical system.
Our medical system has top notch technology and well trained medical professionals.
I believe the system is weak in providing direct personal care. It appears that medical specialization, bureaucracy and liability fears are driving a wedge between doctor and patient.
Early this year, Tom Daschle pointed out that our system could use a stronger focus on wellness.
The shrill discontent we have with our medical system is the result of the political and financial systems wrapped around healthcare.
When engaging in debates about healthcare, it is important to make the distinction between real live medical services (the things that actually improve our lives), and the artificial political constructs devised to ration health care.
When we fail to make the distinction, we end up with shrill public discourse that often devolves into the absurd argument: "The system we designed to ration health care is preventing us from getting the care we desire; therefore we must expend more resources on the failed rationing system."
Bureaucracies work by focusing resources on whatever makes the loudest noise.
The challenge in debating healthcare is that the form of the debate often influences the outcome. A shrill debate leads to a system that brushes aside the health concerns of the individuals needing health care and concentrates resources on the power brokers that feed of the health care system.
To make inroads in the healthcare, classical liberals would do well to expend effort drawing the important distinction between real medical care, and the the political system that delivers it.
Conversely, progressives have been able to dominate discourse simply muddying and using the term healthcare for the bureaucracy. Progressives have manipulated the terms "healthcare" so that it refers to the bureaucracy and not the actual care received by patients. The clever little trick has created a paradigm where arguments for better real medical care end up twisted into arguments for expanding the power and scope of the bureaucracy.
Winning the debate for the side of liberty is primarily a matter of driving the argument that the free market allows for the most dynamic and direct relation between the caregiver and patient.
Classical liberals tend to lose the debate when they are drawn into macro discussions about the free market being the best mechanism for distributing scarce resources. Even though the argument is both sound and humane, it is always possible for collectivists to manipulate the argument and make it sound Darwinian.
The argument of the classical liberal is that freedom of the micro level tends to the optimal solution at both the micro and macro level. Unfortunately, classical liberals tend to be drawn into detailed discussions of macro economics, when, if they really followed the logic of their arguments, they would realize that they need to focus on how things work at the macro level.