My Quiet Life My Quiet Life

healthcare reading

I see that healthcare reform is in the news again! How exciting.

A few months ago I joked that there were two articles that were required reading before I discussed healthcare in the united states with anyone. I thought I’d flesh that out a little bit:

  • A good succinct no-frills timeline of how we got here. Do we have a government system? A private system? Why is the responsibility for healthcare placed on employers? Why is it called insurance when it covers not-unexpected things? If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, read this.
  • This recent econtalk episode is a good, lengthier discussion of the above process. Christy Ford Chapin’s book is worth reading as well.
  • This summary of medical pricing and the AMA helps explain where and how costs are set in our current system. “Why is our healthcare so expensive?” is a difficult question, but this is one glaring part of the answer. (tl;dr: it’s a profiteering racket)
  • If you’ll allow some self-indulgence, this post by me, opining on obamacare (my optimism has since greatly diminished in the intervening 7 years), but in particular pointing out the difference between “health care” and “health insurance”, and lamenting the fact that in public debate, no one even bothers to make this lexical distinction.
  • Buy Health, Not Healthcare - a good framing of the situation by Robin Hanson in 1994.
  • A good thorough analysis of healthcare costs and the ramifications of various single-payer proposals by Megan McArdle.
  • Econtalk’s fascinating episode with Kevin Smith on the Surgery Center of Oklahoma and how most of the industry currently bills for procedures. (You might need to sit down for this one, parts of it are maddening).