Of all the things we might do to improve our health care system, the one reform that is more important than any other is almost never discussed. It is ignored by Republicans. By Democrats. By the experts. By the think tanks. And by just about everybody who has an opinion on health policy.
Companies that sell computers, cloths, food, or most other items Americans buy are not required by law to post their prices. But many do anyhow because consumers are always out to save money. Except when it comes to health care, argues Scott W. Atlas, MD, in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
For some American cities, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery—New York City, for example, wanting to to be in the same sentence as Paris and London as cultured, cosmopolitan hubs for world travel and commerce.
As I observe health care rise to the top of the policy debates foreshadowing the 2020 election—seems to be second only to Donald Trump among the twenty-three Democrats now seeking the Oval Office—as K–12 education sinks lower on the policy horizon (such that several observers declare ed-reform a thing of the past), I’m struck by how much these two vast and troubled domains have in common, as do efforts to change them.
In his excellent analysis of health care costs, Alex Tabarrok refers to a widely touted finding by health economist Joseph P. Newhouse that the main driver of increases in health care costs has been increased technology. Alex links to this article by Newhouse, but the earlier Newhouse article that received so much attention was his “Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Summer 1992 ): 3-21 .
The federal budget can be hard to comprehend. Billions of dollars are spent each day on thousands of different programs and agencies. Despite the complexities, skyrocketing deficits mean it is more important than ever to know how the trillions of federal dollars are spent each year.
The Working Group on Health Care Policy devises public policies that enable more Americans to get better value for their health care dollar and foster appropriate innovations that will extend and improve life.