Thomas Sowell has an excellent column today laying out in lucid terms the economic ignorance behind current proposals to reform health care in the US.
An OECD study shows that the percentage of patients waiting more than 4 months for elective surgery in English-speaking countries is in single digits only in the United States, where we “lack” the “benefits” of a government-run medical system. In Canada 27 percent of patients wait more than 4 months and in Britain 38 percent. Elective surgery includes some heart surgery.
Shortages where the government sets prices have been common in countries around the world, for centuries on end, whether these shortages have taken the form of waiting lists, black markets, or other ways of coping with the fact that what people demand at an artificially low price exceeds what other people will supply at such prices.
. . . .
Americans, who produce a wholly disproportionate share of the world’s new life-saving drugs, are being asked to imitate price control policies in countries where such policies have dried up the costly research behind such discoveries.
. . . .
Politicians who claim to be able to “bring down the cost of health care” are talking about bringing down the prices charged. But prices are not costs. Prices are what pay for costs.
No matter how much lower the government sets the prices paid to doctors, hospitals, or pharmaceutical drug manufacturers, none of this reduces the costs in the slightest.
Evidently, most of our policymakers and “thought leaders” are so gobsmackingly stupid that they cannot retain elementary economics and history in their pointy heads, and by all accounts honestly believe such gibberish as “price controls lower costs.”
No matter how many times socialistic policies crash and burn, no matter how many times market-based systems beat the pants off of top-down autocratically controlled systems, the “liberal” elites in government, academia, and the media in the US return time and time again to shopworn socialist prescriptions.
Like a dog to its vomit.