Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hiding Health Care's Costs Hiding Health Care's Costs

Robert SamuelsonHiding Health Care's Costs points out that one of the biggest problems with our health care system is that the costs are hidden from us - often w/i employer paid health insurance. And because of that, we don't shop prices or values. As an economist, what he didn't say, but probably should have, is that this is a great way to get around the laws of economics. He did point out though that:
Our health-care system will inevitably combine government regulation and private enterprise. But what should the mix be? How important is health care compared with other public and private goals? Will an expanding health-care sector spur the economy -- or, through high taxes and insurance premiums, retard it? We have refused to have this debate for obvious reasons. It makes us queasy, because it pits moral imperatives (including the right to live) against coldhearted economics. A case in point: A friend of mine recently had a near-death experience; he survived only because he had superb medical care.

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