Monday, November 02, 2009

A Health Care View From The Other Side Of The Pond

I was looking for something else when I came across this short piece from 2006 on what ails the U.S. health care system, written by a British health economist. You can tell it's not by an American economist, from the very first paragraph:

The American health care systems perform impressively, producing what they are designed to deliver: cost inflation, inefficiency, and inequity. At regular intervals, local pundits declare that the outcomes of the incentive structures in the constituent parts of the systems are unacceptable, usually emphasising that "the nation cannot afford to spend 16 percent of GDP on health care". Such "insights" ignore the fact that inflation is a consequence of the systems' perverse incentives and that improved control of expenditure inflation would oblige physicians, nurses, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry to moderate their lifestyles.

Bracing, isn't it? Even if you disagree with the views given in that piece, they certainly should be discussed in our grand health care reform debate. At least as often as the views of those who tell us that any public option means long waits in gray corridors and treatment with horse medicine by fanatical (and bewhiskered) bureaucrats wearing Stalinist uniforms.

Not sure why I had to add bewhiskered there.