Sunday, April 12, 2015

Is modern healthcare killing us?

Provocative question from Freakonomics. What I think is entirely clear is that the system in the US is broken. I'm more skeptical of claims that the problems are the result of profit seeking rather than warped incentives:

In our system, we have an asymmetry in price. So we pay a whole lot of money if you cut, scan, and hospitalize patients. If they have procedures, if they go through machines, we pay an enormous amount of money for those things. If you talk to a patient, you actually lose money in many instances. So when a cardiologist walks in the room and talks to your family member, that’s actually a loss leader. That doctor is losing money every moment they stay in a room with your family member. The way they make money is by getting you out of that room and back into the scanner that they’re leasing in the back of the office. That’s not their fault. That’s the fault of how we’ve structured the incentives in the system.

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