Today’s Must Reads: Health Care Edition

Posted: July 8, 2009 in Health Care

Social Cost – John Goodman

Social cost is the sum of all the individual costs. That is, it’s the cost to me plus the cost to you plus….. etc., summing over 300 million people. In doing the summation, we can’t omit whole groups of folks. Although this may come as a surprise to some, doctors really are people! So are nurses. So are hospital personnel. Squeezing the incomes of providers shifts costs, but it doesn’t lower them. It makes patients better off (in the short run) and providers worse off. But that does not lower cost for society as a whole.

A Closer Look At European Health Care – McQ

So you can expect innovation to begin to slow. Why invest billions when a bureaucracy will decide whether or not it’s a medicine or treatment worth the cost. The same bureaucracy will also decide what it will pay for your innovation. Of course, if the innovator can’t recover the cost of development and make a profit as incentive toward more innovation, the probability exits the developer will simply stop such research.

“Government control of health care is not a panacea,” said Philip Stevens, of International Policy Network, a London think-tank. “The U.S. health system is a bit of a mess, but based on what’s happened in some countries in Europe, I’d be nervous about recommending more government involvement.”

Words of wisdom most likely to be ignored by our legislators here. And the unfortunate thing is it will not only destroy an excellent health care system here, but, given the level of government spending forecast, tank the rest of the economy as well.

Uwe Reinhardt on Health Care Rationing – Doug Bandow

Is rationing inevitable?  Yes.  Is government rationing inevitable or desirable?  Neither.  The bottom line is:  who should control people’s and families’ medical futures?  Not Uncle Sam.

Myths About Obamacare – Matt Lewis

Matt shares some interesting points being emailed around by the RNC:

“You can keep your plan. “You can keep your doctor.” Busted by the AP.
“The plan will not add to the deficit.” But CBO says plans would worsen budget outlook.
“The ‘public option’ will provide competition.” Even the Chicago Tribune editorial board knows better.
Reason’s Shikha Dalmia on Medicare

Unions are shifting their feet, uncertain about Obama’s health care plan, and seniors are already at: don’t finance the uninsured by cutting Medicare.

So while the media-worship continues of Obamacare, seniors are at no. And Stanley Greenberg, a gray beard with battle scars, is trying to warn the Democratic Party.

Statist Healthcare, By the Numbers – Directorblue

1,500,000: The number of Canadians who do not have — and cannot find — a general practitioner/primary care physician due to shortages in medical staff: “In Norwood, Ontario, 20/20 videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor… Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery ‘elective.’ …’The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live,’ she said.”

Go read the rest.  He’s got a lot of good ones in there.

The Robot Will See You NowBoston Globe – Kathleen Burge

Doctors and researchers at Lahey and elsewhere see robots as potential money savers that could lower healthcare costs for critically ill patients. Now those patients are sometimes transferred unnecessarily from community hospitals to academic medical centers, where the cost of care is much higher and the distance is inconvenient for families, said Sanford Kurtz, Lahey’s chief operating officer.

This is a huge advance in how medicine can be performed.  The pharmacy industry also tried to go this way, but with little success (state boards of pharmacy required an on site pharmacist when dispensing medicaiton).  Let’s just hope that medical boards don’t screw this one up.

Obama Doesn’t Have the Only Prescription for Healthcare Reform – Michael D. Tanner

The choice facing us now is not between Obama’s plan for healthcare micromanaged by the government or doing nothing. Rather, it is a choice between government control, regulation and rationing on one hand, and free markets, choice and competition on the other.

Costs versus Efficiency – Greg Mankiw

Low administrative costs are not to be confused with high administrative efficiency. In other words, administrators are not necessarily a deadweight loss to the system.

Be sure to click through and read the information on how increasing Medicare’s overhead costs could more than make up those increases in reduced fraud.

Is Six Months of Your Life Worth $22,000? – John Goodman

The British health care agency NICE (cute acronym, right?) has decided that it is not.

House Dems Consider New “Surtax” – Philip Klein

The surtax would be on top of the tax hike that is already anticipated at this income level in 2011 when the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, and would hit small business owners who declare business income on their personal tax returns.

At what point do the people who make more than $250,000 get to decide that they have done more than their “patriotic duty’?

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  1. [...] Today's Must Reads: Health Care Edition « Brian Simpson [...]

  2. [...] his panties in a wad over a blog post written by Greg Mankiw (that I linked to in yesterday’s must reads).  Well, let’s just say that the term dog pile comes to mind in the [...]

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