Saturday, September 24, 2011

Universal Health Care Requires Rationing

In order to be sustainable, that is. That is the conclusion of my colleague Tracy Miller. In an excellent piece of analysis, Miller notes that
those who support “universal health care” without also recognizing the need to use some method to ration health care are living in a dream world. In practice, universal health care requires that no one is denied access to basic health care because of an inability to pay the cost; prices will not be used to ration care. Because health care is a scarce good, some other rationing criterion must be used instead of prices. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, health care is rationed by having people wait their turns, with the result that some illnesses become untreatable before the patient can get the necessary treatment. For example, because of delays for colon cancer treatment in Britain, 20 percent of the cases considered curable at the time of diagnosis become incurable by the time of treatment.
Miller goes on to note that if Obamacare is expanded to full universal care, like many desire, costs would escalate to such an extent that we could face a government debt problem similar to that of Greece. Not a very happy prospect.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the awesome data. One thing to note...the poor have never had any trouble getting health care in theis country. Some fall through the cracks but not many. It's the families that are considered middle class that make up the majority of the 50 million that do not have health care.

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