Why markets don't work well in health care
How do patients make health care decisions?
We have a significant trauma, like a car accident, and are rushed to the nearest ER that may or may not be on our insurance plan
Our child is very sick in the middle of the night, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get them care.
Our insurance provided by our employer only allows us to see certain doctors at certain hospitals, none of whom have appointments available in a reasonable time-frame.
There is only one surgeon at the hospital in town, and we cannot drive hours away to get the care we need.
How available are accurate prices in health care?
The classical view of markets assumes that buyers know the prices of the products or services they want to purchase. Anybody who uses health care nowadays knows how hard it is to find out what they are being charged. Even the doctors and clinicians who provide services often do not know prices and cannot guide their patients on how to spend their money wisely.
How are health care prices set?
Should we strive for fair markets instead of so-called “free” markets in health care?
Competition is important in health care. It encourages people to work harder and more efficiently, and to provide better service. But, in health care, the markets must include the notion of “fairness.” The definition of what is “fair” should not be determined by those who have the most dollars with access to legislators, but rather by the public interest, and the common good.