Voodoo Health Economics

Paul Krugman:

…but the equally foolish claim, refuted by all available evidence, that the magic of the marketplace can produce cheap health care for everyone. …

How about this as an idea? Health care is expensive because health care is expensive: it requires huge amounts of labour (in the US, 13.5 million people) and vast amounts of capital ($800 million to bring a new drug to market).

How about the idea that there is *no way* to produce cheap health care for everyone? We can dance around the minor issues, choice, quality, access, these sorts of things, but we\’ll never invent a method of health care that provides high quality care to everyone that is cheap.

5 thoughts on “Voodoo Health Economics”

  1. Health care or medical care, Tim?

    The vast majority of health care benefit doesn’t come from complicated and expensive medical care – it comes from good sanitation, housing, nutrition, personal behaviour and simple measures such as vaccination.

    In any case, US medicine is nowhere near a free market or very competitive as Krugman claims. Milton Friedman had quite a lot to say about this.

  2. “refuted by all available evidence”
    Owl Gore uses this line all the time. I’ve trained my brain to hibernate anytime I see or hear it.

  3. Here here, Tim.

    Though we could argue that technological progress has meant that excellent health care by the standards of previous eras is available very cheaply. For example, I can remove a headache for about 1p. The “problem” is that our expectations increase in line with said progress.

  4. speaking from personal experience – the standard answer to health care is to provide shoddy service and claim it as the best as everyone had to pass exams. Even if they can’t really speak English.
    Oh and create queues. Lots of queues.
    However it may improve at the voting mass of baby boomers start dying. That might stir things up.
    Currently the dying were born in the great depression and there were not a lot of births back then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *