Proposal to Sen. Coburn: We Won’t Practice Medicine, You Don’t Opine on Economics
The retiring Senator from
Oklahoma, Tom Coburn is interviewed in the
Wall Street Journal and talks
extensively about health care economics.
As a physician, one might think Sen. Coburn knows something about the
subject. He doesn’t.
Mr. Coburn’s main point is that as a conservative Republican he supports market based decisions on health care by patients, such as a person being taken to an emergency room having to make a choice between the one that is close by and the one that is 10% less expensive and gives a coupon good for a free Big Mac with every admittance. It would take far more space and be way to boring to fully refute Mr. Coburn’s erroneous analysis, and of course it would be nice if the Wall Street Journal actually published both sides of an issue, but everyone knows that ain’t gonna happen.
But what is interesting is this statement in the interview.
Dr. Coburn observes that "nearly all the economists agree" that a source of
long-running health-care dysfunctions is the tax exclusion for
employer-sponsored insurance only. America
Well, actually no. And even if a bunch of economists did agree on something, does that really make it valid. Really, what has been the experience over the last 70 years from serious professional academic economists that would give anyone confidence in their conclusions? No the real problem with
U. S. health
care costs is the fee-for-service system, something no other advanced nation
has fore the majority of its care.
But there is one observation that can be made. Almost all economists agree that Sen. Coburn knows nothing about health care economics (and most economists hope that Sen. Coburn’s personal health issued are resolved in his favor.) And no, we cannot cite any sources for this observation, some things are just so obvious that we don’t have to.