Tom Woods interviews Dr Steve Lantier, co-director of the Oklahoma Surgery Center, which posts its prices on its website and does not accept insurance. This interview was part of the Peter Schiff Show.
(Sped up for your listening convenience.)
Here is the audio of a short primer on economics written (and read) by yours truly. If you don’t want to read it, you can listen to it. Alternatively, you could do both.
Who’s not in favor of being more healthy? I’ve never met anyone who truly wanted to be sick (not including kids who think of chicken pox as a 2 week school holiday). Everyone wants to be healthy and to feel good.
Our friendly government employees and politicians certainly seem to believe that we should all be healthy…or at least have a right to healthcare. (It’s right there, in the Declaration of Independence…Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Healthiness.)
In all seriousness though, healthcare is a serious subject in need of serious study. After all, lives are at stake. There are many ways to approach the study of Healthcare Policy, however the approach this site takes is an economic approach (and to a lesser degree, an ethical approach).
The first and most important lesson in economics is that desires are infinite, and means to meet these desires are finite (scarce in economics lingo). So, the study of economics is the study of how scarce resources are best put to use to meet our insatiable desires. Let’s take a look at both of these propositions and how they relate to healthcare policy.
To live is to desire. (Very Buddhist statement there.) Everyone, everywhere, at all times, has unmet desires. Meet one need, and you’ll find another. There is no ultimate satisfaction in this life. I’m sure you can come up with some illustrations of your own, but I’ll provided a few…There’s no woman so beautiful that she doesn’t have some part she’d like to improve. There are athletes who upon winning the Olympic Gold Medal, find only emptiness at attaining their highest goal in life. Howard Hughes, richest man in the world when he died, said that the amount of money he needed to be satisfied was, “Just a little more.”
Most of us could probably be a little healthier. Even the healthiest person in the world won’t be that way forever. Time will always whittle away our youth, looks, and vitality despite our best efforts.
Just listen to the liberal, commie, environmentalists. They are fundamentally right. There are only so many resources in the world with which to meet these unlimited demands. Resources are not only scarce in their amount, they are also scarce in the sense that to employ them for to satiate one demand means that the same resource cannot also be used to fulfill a different demand.
Even if we lived in a hyperabundant Garden of Eden, our time would still be scarce as would our labor (each of us only has one body), and we would still have to forgo certain desires to meet others. Healthcare requires, time, labor, and natural resources (all three finite). To provide healthcare is to leave other desires unmet.
Thus, economics is an exceedingly apt method to use when analyzing healthcare policy. In this course, we will use economic principles to analyze a whole slew of healthcare policies and policies related to healthcare.
The word policy implies laws or rules designed to change people’s behavior. The underlying assumption is that if left to their own devices, individual humans would provide enough healthcare for themselves and, so, must be guided or forced by government to…well, we’ll see as we go along. However, keep in mind that every allocation of resources toward healthcare means the giving up of resources that could have been dedicated to something else.
The next few lessons will be about economics in general and not have anything to do with healthcare directly.
Leonard Read’s Essay, “I, Pencil“. Very short. Very readable. Also the subject of your first written assignment.