Tag: Price control

Replacing Medicare’s Ridiculous Fee Schedule »

In recent posts I’ve explained the folly of Medicare’s reliance on a predetermined fee schedule. Is there a better way? Here’s one idea, which I develop at length in my book Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis and elsewhere.[1] Instead of having Medicare fix millions of prices for predetermined packages of care, we should allow...
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Grocery Stores, Healthcare, and the Case for Real Markets »

Think of a supermarket. There are probably more than a hundred in the city of Dallas alone. I can walk into any of them—in most cases, at any time day or night—and buy thousands of different products. The only wait I experience is at checkout, but express lanes speed that along if I want...
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Six Billion Physician Fees »

Even though prices don’t have the same meaning in the medical marketplace that they do in other markets, they still have the power to influence provider behavior. Take Medicare, which has a list of some 7,500 separate tasks it pays physicians to perform. For each task, there is a price that varies according to...
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Healthcare and the Cost of Non-Price Rationing »

The orthodox approach to health policy is obsessively focused on the burdens of price barriers to care, and at the same time inordinately oblivious to the burdens of non-price barriers. Yet non-price barriers to care can be very costly. This is an important point that dooms many healthcare proposals, as I explain in my...
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Both the Right and Left Go Wrong on Healthcare Prices »

Despite the fact that prices in healthcare do not play the same role as they do in other markets, there is a tendency on both the political right and the political left to ignore this fact. The right, for example, issues frequent calls to make prices transparent. A number of proposals would even require...
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What Medical Tourism Tells Us about Our Healthcare System »

If you ask a hospital in your neighborhood to give you a package price on a standard surgical procedure, you will probably be turned down. After the suppression of normal market forces for the better part of a century, hospitals are rarely interested in competing on price for patients they are likely to get...
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A Bogus Example of Controlling Inflation with Price Controls »

As the U.S. government prepared for and then engaged fully in World War II, it made increasingly stringent efforts to control inflation by imposing price controls. Late in 1942, these controls were strengthened substantially, and from early 1943 through mid-1946, when the controls were allowed to lapse, the consumer price index rose very little....
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Crisis and Leviathan, 25th Anniversary Edition »

The Independent Institute is delighted to announce the publication of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, by Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs. First published in 1987, this classic work introduced to the reading public the notion that national crises—the Great Depression, the two...
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Anti-Gouging Laws Prevent Prices from Sending the Right Signals »

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, have warned sellers against “price gouging” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Their words and policies are supposed to help people during a catastrophe, but the opposite is true. As columnist Matthew Yglesias explains in Slate, stopping...
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How Perverse Incentives Affect Healthcare Behavior »

Imagine a system in which health plans offer networks of doctors and hospitals in return for fixed premiums. People who are seriously ill and need specific, expensive medical treatment will select in a very different way from other people. As I discuss in my book Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, take a heart patient in...
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