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Economics of health care

http://bostonreview.net/BR34.3/baker.php

Dean Baker argues that standard economic principles aren't applied to health care. Efficiency is when prices are near marginal cost of production, but patents on drugs and tests keep prices sky high, and could be replaced with public research, prizes, or patent buy-outs; patents also lead to rent-seeking and political distortions of the market. Competition among doctors is excessively discouraged by long and expensive med school programs, and keeping foreign doctors out, despite the training of the latter. Medicare doesn't pay for benefits outside the USA, so you can't take your pension benefits in a cheaper country. But you don't hear about economists -- or Republicans -- talking about throwing the door open to foreign doctors.


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