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.
  • 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.
  • Lastly, perhaps not required reading, but a good thorough analysis of healthcare costs and the ramifications of various single-payer proposals by Megan McArdle.