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THOMAS SOWELL: The “Costs” of Medical Care – Real Clear Politics

November 3, 2009

032506sowellNovember 3, 2009

The “Costs” of Medical Care

By Thomas Sowell

We are incessantly being told that the cost of medical care is “too high”– either absolutely or as a growing percentage of our incomes. But nothing that is being proposed by the government is likely to lower those costs, and much that is being proposed is almost certain to increase the costs.

There is a fundamental difference between reducing costs and simply shifting costs around, like a pea in a shell game at a carnival. Costs are not reduced simply because you pay less at a doctor’s office and more in taxes– or more in insurance premiums, or more in higher prices for other goods and services that you buy, because the government has put the costs on businesses that pass those costs on to you.

Costs are not reduced simply because you don’t pay them. It would undoubtedly be cheaper for me to do without the medications that keep me alive and more vigorous in my old age than people of a similar age were in generations past.

Letting old people die would undoubtedly be cheaper than keeping them alive– but that does not mean that the costs have gone down. It just means that we refuse to pay the costs. Instead, we pay the consequences. There is no free lunch.

Providing free lunches to people who go to hospital emergency rooms is one of the reasons for the current high costs of medical care for others. Politicians mandating what insurance companies must cover is another free lunch that leads to higher premiums for medical insurance– and fewer people who can afford it.

Despite all the demonizing of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies or doctors for what they charge, the fundamental costs of goods and services are the costs of producing them.

via RealClearPolitics – The “Costs” of Medical Care.

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4 Comments
  1. Carterthewriter permalink
    November 3, 2009 7:37 AM

    I find anything written by Thomas Sowell very enlightening and wonder why those in the While House seem to ignore him.

  2. Dr.D permalink
    November 3, 2009 12:48 PM

    @ Carterthewriter: Isn’t it obvious that the reason the WH ignores Dr. Sowell is because they don’t like what he has to say? This administration is socialist/communist to the core, and Dr. Sowell says nothing that supports such thinking. He does not particularly rail against it, but he simply points out how things actually work, as opposed to the imaginary world in which communism works.

  3. Carterthewriter permalink
    November 3, 2009 2:20 PM

    Dr. D, everything this WH is doing is so obvious, it makes you wonder where some people’s thought process has migrated to…China, perhaps.

    It is unbelievable!

  4. teabill permalink
    November 4, 2009 3:57 PM

    Love Thomas Sowell-and not cause he’s black–but because he’s smart! Usually somebody that has something to offer–like Sowell -has the ability to take the confusion and complexity out of a subject and draw out the truth! Healthcare costs are what they are—and no amount of shifting the pea(costs)to somebody else –is going to change that!

    But Nancy Pelosi and the dunces in Congress want us to believe how complex it all is —so they write these telephone book size healthcare bills-that they don’t read–and then they try to dazzle us with their bullshit about what is in these monstrous bills!!! And their story changes constantly–but we are just suppose to trust them and pass the whole bill by tommorrow and let them take over 1/6 of entire economy—or the whole system will collapse !

    What crap!– THE TRUTH IS-this is nothing more than the attempt to gain greater control of our lives -by the Statist (those who believe government should make our choices for us rather than leaving those choices up to each one of us (the individual). It isn’t about insuring more people, or about more competition, or cost control—-or any of those strawmen the Statist creates—it is sbout what the Statist is up to — which is more government control and loss of individual freedom and choice as a result. The Statist’s perverse pursuit to subjugate the individual and his desires to the will of the State–so they can create a liberal utopia-all for our own good of course. It’s also called Marxism–which is what Obama, Pelosi, Reid are – MARXISTS!!

    And they hide their agenda (control)by creating strawmen (the crisis strawman-like the whole system is going to collapse yesterday unless we act immediately, or the class warfare strawman – like the evil rich are taking advantage of and screwing their poor patients, or the poor me sympathy strawman—like people are dying in the streets from lack of healthcare coverage, or the children are dying, or the elderly will suffer. Or the victims strawman-like we are all victims—and it’s up to government to rescue us all.

    To hell with Obama,Nancy Pelosi and her band of Congressional dunces ( a bunch of parasitic lawyers who have never held a real job in their entire lives) and they have the gall to tell us how to live our lives. As Adolph Hitler once said—–it is lucky for rulers that men do not think !!!

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