Monday, December 13, 2010

ObamaCare: Flight of the Doctors (NY Post)

Doctors hate obamaCare--Marc K. Siegel -

This is the beginning of the unintended consequences of socialized medicine in the US. Distort the incentives of a market and this is what you get. When the legislation comes into full force, my prediction is that rationed care and extraordinarily long wait-lists won't be too far behind.


"The Physicians Foundation asked 2,400 doctors and American Medical Association members what they thought of the new law; a full 67 percent were against it.
More important, it asked how they'd cope with the new rules (which don't fully kick in until 2014). Sixty percent said they feel compelled to "close or significantly restrict their practices to certain categories of patients." And 59 percent said the "reform" would oblige them to spend less time with the patients they do have."

Update: April 5, 2013

Fed Up With Obamacare, Doctors Increasingly Prefer Cash For Care (Forbes)

"Others are considering a departure from the current system of third-party payment. Instead, they’re exploring direct payment, with patients paying for care on their own.

Nearly two-thirds of doctors say that they or their colleagues will retire earlier than planned over the next few years, according to a survey conducted by consulting firm Deloitte.
Patients should welcome this development. Not only does the move toward direct payment have the potential to reduce health costs — it could also yield higher-quality care.
Even before Obamacare, direct-pay practices were growing in popularity. According to the Center for Studying Health System Change, direct-payment practices increased from 9.2 percent of the market in 2001 to 12.4 percent by 2008.
Nearly 7 percent of doctors say they are planning to change to some form of direct-pay care in the next three years, according to a survey of 13,000 doctors done for the Physicians Foundation."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Happiness State and Nunavut's Inuit

The Happiness State coming to Canada?

On the website of the newly created Ludwig Von Mises Institute of Canada (awesome!), George Bragues posted the above blog regarding the possibility of individual happiness becoming a goal of government policy. Brague summarized his main concerns as follows:

"[Because] the wealthy supposedly do not get much additional happiness from all their money, while the less well-to-do can, let’s [through government intervention] redistribute incomes. That will augment the over-all level of happiness. And since, we’ll all be more equal as a result, people won’t be so dissatisfied by how they stand relative to others. Not only that, if people can be encouraged to become less avaricious, they can get off the so-called “hedonic treadmill” and focus instead on their families, friends, and communities."

I posted this response (with some revisions for my blog):

Talking about redistribution of wealth policies, what we need is an empirical analysis of the 'money for nothing' policy of Canada's Inuit people. Several of the communities in Nunavut have had been in a sustained state of welfare (i.e., over 50% on Social Assistance) since at least the 80s, if not longer. When I worked with Gov't of the NWT in the 90s, some communities had welfare rates of 80%.

Interested to see what the current statistics were, the Internet was very obliging. For 2010/11, the estimated transfer payment from the Federal gov't to Nunavut is 1.2 billion, which is $35,000 per person. (The NWT is not much better at $23,000 per person.) From 2001-2004, about 8,000 people per year have received Social Assistance (i.e., welfare payments) in Nunavut. That's about 25% of the population of Nunavut (In 2006, the population of Nunavut was 29,474,with 24,640 people identifying themselves as Inuit.)

Do we see an increase in happiness of the Inuit of Nunavut? Inuit suicide rates are more than 11 times higher than the Canadian rate, according to Health Canada. And 83% of these are people under 30 years of age.

This statistic is probably the tip of the ice berg of the state of well-being of Nunavut people. If anyone at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada wants to do research on how chronic welfare destroys a person's (and culture's!) psychological well-being, Nunavut would be a place to study. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Socialized Medicine is the Problem

Socialized Medicine is the Problem | Psychology Today

by Walter E. Block


"Why are there long waiting lines that do not dissipate quickly? In economic parlance, this comes about because demand is greatly in excess of supply. There is no other reason; that is it: supply's falling short of demand is a necessary and sufficient cause of long and enduring queues.

But to answer in this manner is only to put off the inevitable question: why does demand continue to exceed supply in some markets but not in others? Again, the answer comes straight out of Economics 101: a permanent shortage arises and endures if and only if prices are pegged at below-equilibrium levels and kept there through force of law.

Some people think there is something special about medical care. There is not. Yes, if we do not avail ourselves of it, we will be in dire straits. But no less can be said for food, clothing, shelter, energy, transportation - you name it. And economic law, just as in the case of chemistry or physics, is no respecter of how important an industry is to human well-being; it works just the same in medical services as for paper clips or rubber bands. Impose artificially lower prices in a market - let alone virtually zero prices as in medicine - and you guarantee a shortage."