Patient lying in hospital bed. Credit: Shutterstock

A top Republican candidate for the United States Senate in Montana floated eliminating all health insurance and bringing back the old-timey payment system where cash-strapped patients could barter with their doctors for medical care .

Semafor reports that Republican Senate candidate Tim Sheehy argued in a meet-and-greet with voters in August that “we need to return healthcare to pure privatization,” despite the fact that the United States government has been providing financial assistance to help Americans get medical care for decades.

When asked about what this would entail, Sheehy pointed to the kinds of payment systems that were more common in the 19th century.

“I mean, healthcare worked before health insurance existed. Each town had a doctor that would drive to your house, take care of you and you’d pay him,” Sheehy said.

“And guess what? It worked. It worked when you actually paid a doctor for services provided. And then we started getting into this HMO, insurance, mega-conglomerate structure.”

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