I first titled the post, “Health Care Masterpiece,” but then changed it to “Free Market Masterpiece”. In his essay, Cochrane does a masterful job of contrasting free market success stories to our government-restrained market for health care.
Here are a few snippets.
I bet you didn’t know:
About 70% of hospitals and 85% of health‐care employment is in non‐profits,whose legal and regulatory treatment protects much inefficiency from competition.
Maybe for‐profit companies pay too much attention to stock prices. But non‐profits can go on inefficiently forever, with no stockholders to complain. The whole point of a non‐profit is to pursue goals other than economic efficiency.
Here he summarizes the competing goals of various government actions in health care:
…here we have the government forcing small size in order to boost competition with one hand, stopping entry to protect hospitals from competition with another, trying to force larger “networks” through “Affordable Care Organizations” to obtain the needed economies of scale with the third, but laws preserving doctor independence with the fourth.
On reflection, it’s amazing that computerizing medical records was part of the ACA and stimulus bills. Why in the world do we need a subsidy for this? My bank computerized records 20 years ago.
Why, when you go to the doctor, do you answer the same 20 questions over and over again, and what the heck are they doing trusting your memory to know what your medical history and list of medications are?
He answers that question (read it to find his answer) and OMG:
No, we did not get cheap and amazing cell phones by government ramping up the pressure on the 1960s AT&T. Southwest Airlines did not come about from effectiveness panels or an advisory board telling United and American (or TWA and Pan AM) how to reorganize operations. The mass of auto regulation did nothing to lower costs or induce efficient production by the big three.
When has this ever worked? The post office? Amtrak? The department of motor vehicles? Road construction? Military procurement? The TSA? Regulated utilities? European state‐run industries? The last 20 or so medical “cost control” ideas? The best example and worst performer of all,..wait for it…public schools?
I will post more quotes later. But, I also agree with Boudreaux that you should take the time to read the whole thing.