Saturday, July 18, 2009

Healthcare Mythology - What We Know That Ain't So

A friend pointed me to this article by Clifford Asness PhD, Managing and Founding Principal of AQR Capital Management LLC, who explores in depth the mythology surrounding the debate on healthcare in this piece at Stumbling on Truth. There are six major myths and he duly shreds each one in turn:
  1. Healthcare Costs are Soaring
  2. The Canadian Drug Story
  3. Socialized Medicine Works in Some Places
  4. Public Option Can Co-exist with a Private Option
  5. We Can Have Healthcare Without Rationing
  6. Healthcare is a Right
From the section on Canada:

....but when it comes to pharmaceuticals they are lucky parasitic hosers. Drug companies in general sell their products to Canada at low prices, making a little profit, and reducing slightly the amount they need to charge other North Americans. This does create the silly illusion that the Canadian system is somehow better than ours because our own drugs are cheaper there. They are only cheaper to the extent we are subsidizing them by paying their portion of drug development costs and, unfortunately, we cannot subsidize ourselves (or we go blind).[4]

Update: the author has updated his article with a seventh myth, now number 4: Socialized Medicine Is Better Because Their Cost/GDP For Health Care is Lower. I also wanted to highlight another point about "rights" in what is now section/myth 7:

"Listing rights generally involves enumerating things you may do without interference (the right to free speech) or may not be done to you without your permission (illegal search and seizure, loud boy-band music in public spaces). They are protections, not gifts of material goods. Material goods and services must be taken from others, or provided by their labor, so if you believe you have an absolute right to them, and others don’t choose to provide it to you, you then have a “right” to steal from them. But what about their far more fundamental right not to be robbed?"

Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip to Mr. W)
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1 comment:

pbda said...

De nada, PC.