Amy Ridenour posts a neat dissection by David Hogberg of a Huffington Post piece by journalist (?) Blake Fleetwood. It is worth reading in its entirety, but I was actually taken aback by this particular Fleetwood assertion:
[Markets ration health care]…by price, which means that who gets what goods and services depends not only on how much those goods and services are valued by people, but on who has the means to buy them. Priorities are not set by anyone but emerge from the play of the market. As indicated, this is almost the worst possible way to determine who gets which health services.
So now I’m wondering if Fleetwood has a Masters degree in Pre-Columbian Literary Theory, and if he hasn’t heard that Walter Duranty is dead and disgraced, or would be if anybody remembered Duranty’s fawning apologies for Stalin. Then again, Duranty did win a Pulitzer for his lies. Maybe Fleetwood thinks that is still a ticket.
It is obvious he’s never had an course in economics, unless it was taught at UC Berkeley.
First, there’s his assumption that the market sets the price for health care in the United States. This is wrong. Both our own Government and General Motors have been meddling with that market for a long time. It has almost bankrupted GM, and it is going to bankrupt the US if we don’t change how the Feds intervene.
Second, there’s the idea that rich people want to pay more for health care, so they bid the price up beyond the value – exactly the opposite of what market pricing implies. Priorities for health care are set by the government in Canada and the UK, where you may wait six months for an MRI to tell you your cancer has become incurable during the wait.
Central planning has been demonstrated to be inferior to the market by the collapse of the Soviet Union, an event Fleetwood apparently missed. Check out these links from the blogroll: What’s Wrong with Healthcare? (Canada) and SOCIALIZED MEDICINE (Australia/UK) for some insight into how much “better” central planning is than the market.
Markets, where they are left alone, do control demand for goods and services through pricing mechanisms. Governments can only control demand for goods and services by arbitrary fiat, because the information provided by freely determined prices does not exist. Priorities set by bureaucrats spread the suffering equally to everyone – everyone who is not a bureaucrat.