Personal responsibility and health care spending

We often hear about parental responsibility when it comes to educational success and the overall health of children. But how about personal responsibility when it comes to our broken health care system?

I found this recent article on obesity and health fascinating. Obviously, there are many factors that lead people to be thinner or fatter as a group, but as the author points out, we ultimately have the ability to lose weight or not. Calling obesity a “disease” is thus more of a political designation than a descriptive term relating to health.

And then I saw this article which explained that what American health care lacks is some entity that says “no” when it comes to health care spending. The author makes a compelling case that government really won’t do a better job than the current US system, but that so much health care consumption has no relationship to life expectancy that the US wastes more money than other nations.

Of course, as we have repeatedly argued here and here (for example) that market forces and personal choice will solve the problem of “no” while also achieving high-quality care when it actually matters.

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2 Replies to “Personal responsibility and health care spending”

  1. Perhaps I’m confused – I thought we already had “market forces and personal choice.” If we do have “market forces and personal choice,” why are costs so high, so many are uncovered and we are wasting so much money? Further, what is keeping us “from shopping for the best deals in healthcare?”

    1. You’re kidding, right? We have minimal market forces in health care in the USA. Most health care spending in our country is done by the government in one form or another. That is hardly free market. Neither are insurance companies which, due to the tax code, more closely resemble pre-paid health care providers than “insurance.”

      We are spending a lot of money in part because no one in our health care system says “no.” The government is not my preferred purveyor of “no,” but we’d spend less like Europe. In a more market-based system I think we’d have more effective distribution of health care, but we’re not moving that direction at this point.

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