Organizing Healthcare

The important question for healthcare, as is true for the economy as a whole, is how to organize and regulate healthcare. Generally, we can organize around competitive markets or through a system directed by a central authority. History proves that competition is the superior choice, yet liberal healthcare policy wonks not only refuse to acknowledge the truth about competition, but refuse to even pose the question.

For example, a recent article published by the Journal of the American Medical Assoc-iation summarized the results of a survey to determine how physicians view their respon-sibility for controlling healthcare costs. The authors of the study asked physicians to consider seventeen potential means of reducing healthcare costs, and ultimately concluded that physicians tend to place responsibility for controlling costs on others.

Aaron Carroll at the liberal blog The Determined Statist (aka The Incidental Economist) linked to the JAMA article and in his post, used the results of the study to bash physi-cians. The importance of the article, however, is not about physician attitudes; rather, it’s the fact that competition, which is the answer to controlling costs, didn’t even make  JAMA’s list of “means.” Seventeen items and competition nowhere to be found.

In another post at The Incidental Economist, Austin Frakt summarizes what he considers to be positive statements that most health economists could agree on about the econ-omics of healthcare. His list of seventeen statements (hmm, seventeen seems to be a mystical number for liberals) makes no mention of the superiority of competition. The idea that competition can control costs simply doesn’t register with the liberals at JAMA or The Incidental Economist.

And what about the youngsters? Do the over achieving grad students at Project Millennial understand the concept of competitive markets? The answer would be no, based on a series of weekly posts this summer discussing “important” concepts in health policy and health economics. There’s very little in any of the posts, including the current one on healthcare pricing, to suggest that the contributors at the blog are even vaguely aware of the concept of competition.

So liberals of all ages have gone all in for central planning instead of calling for more competitive markets, which is to say they’ve gone all in for stagnation and eventual decline. How very unfortunate for all of us, indeed.

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