Healthcare follies

I am getting ready to leave for my final summer trip to Las Vegas, where it will be appearing with a host of conservative luminaries, such as Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Steve Forbes, Christopher Hitchens, and Dinesh D’Souza. I will be in two debates beginning next Thursday. David Himmelstein and I will be debating single-payer with John Mackey, the head of Whole Foods and John Goodman, the man who invented health savings accounts. Here is what I whipped up today. I would very much appreciate any comments.

The second debate will concern the nature of freedom. There, I will be debating John Mackey again and two others whom I do not know. I will call for help again on that one is in his I get something prepared. Here is what I have so far:


My first draft for Los Vegas

And the website for the conference.


6 comments so far

  1. Anastasia on

    Hello – I’m very interested in seeing the paper that you have for the argument of the single-payer. I’m a new PhD student with an avid interest in making health economics my primary research field and am currently taking a health economics course where our final semester task is to design a health care system for the United States.

    I tried to look at your paper, but the link only takes me back to your blog – could you please try to re-post?

    Thank you!

  2. mperelman on

    Sorry. It should work now.

  3. Rich on

    The link for your freedom paper is not linked

  4. Mike B) on

    I argue that within a capitalist framework, healthcare should be funded by the government through taxes it collects on the wealth produced by the working class. Most of this wealth now goes into the control and ownership of the capitalist class: profits.

    Under my healthcare proposal, a citizen carries a Medicare card, chooses the doctor and when s/he goes for medical advice, treatment and so on, s/he wips out the Medicare card and uses it like a credit card to pay for fees which the doctor charges. Fees for service are predetermined by the Medicare agency.

    That’s it. If doctors don’t like it, they are free to leave the country; but if enough choose this option a pre-condition for getting a medical degree will be a law mandating contract with a prospective medical student which commits the graduating doctor to practice medicine in the country for X amount of years.

  5. Thomas Molitor on

    Your presentation begins with a statement that healthcare is not a Hayek market: A Hayek market is one in which the participants have sufficient information in order to make informed decisions. Would this apply to the patient participant as well? For example, I had a colonoscopy 17 months ago and another one last week (the doctor is on polyp patrol). Same doctor, same facility, same insurance company, same procedure, and the cost of the procedure had risen 40% in 17 months. Before the procedure, I had no view into the cost of the procedure (doctor/facility) nor would the insurer (Blue Cross) give me an accurate estimate of how much of the final bill I would be responsible for. No estimate for the provider charge and no estimate for the patient financial responsibility. I assume if there was any thing fraudulent or excessive in the charges of the providers the insurer would have not paid the providers. But they did. My question is, what prevents the provider network (doctors and hospitals) charging anything it wants? – in this case, a 40% price increase in 17 months? Is this an example of what you mean that the healhcare market is not a Hayek market?

  6. mperelman on

    Yes, Thomas, you are exactly right, except that the standard accusation is that patients with insurance wantonly consume excess care. I am surprised that your doctor gets reimbursed for so many procedures.

    When I was young, we had a doctor in town that rarely found a breast that he did not think needed to be removed. He got away with that for years.

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