Reducing medical over-consumption

If I’d been paying for my cancer care, I’m sure I could have bargained my oncologist down. And did I really NEED those expensive blood-growth factors?

Jeff Jacoby points out in a Boston Globe op-ed that our current health care system encourages patients to overconsume medical care.

No doubt the usual bleeding hearts will criticize him, but Jacoby is entirely right. I know from personal experience.

When I had cancer, I never negotiated prices with my oncologist; I just took the treatment I was offered. No doubt if I’d been paying first dollar I could have pushed for a discount. After all, people with mortal illnesses have great bargaining power. Did I really need those expensive blood-growth factors? Or that last round of chemo? And think how much money I could have saved by dying!

It’s just criminal to let sick people have the luxury of thinking about getting better rather than thinking about controlling health care costs. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com