Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Health Care: A Modest Proposal

Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, makes an interesting counterproposal to the Democrats' health care plans, on his blog Marginal Revolution.

It seems to achieve most of the goals I set out here and here, in my description of an ideal health care policy. Cowen suggests ways to take care of those who can't afford to pay the full cost of their health care, while allowing markets to function.

I'm skeptical of his suggestions to have government micromanage issues such as medical records. For one thing, I doubt that that's a big factor in the cost equation.

Ideally, market forces would take care of that. But would they? Will someone buy services from one physician rather than another, because one of them is better at handling medical records?

My primary care physician writes prescriptions with pen and paper, while a specialist that I see periodically, prints them out from a laptop computer. Would I leave the primary care physician I've been with for 18 years, if I found another one who is more tech-savvy? That's the type of thing that would need to happen, if market forces were going to improve that situation.

But, regardless of all that, I'm still skeptical about the federal government mandating standards regarding that issue.

No comments: