Rationing, The Question is Not Whether (its here now) but How

Ewe Reinhardt on rationing of care:

For reasons that escape me, many Americans do not regard rationing scarce resources through the marketplace, by price and ability to pay, as rationing at all, reserving that term for government withholding of marginally beneficial procedures, based on formal cost-effectiveness analysis.

I do beg to differ. In their well-known textbook “Microeconomics,” Michael L. Katz of Harvard and Harvey S. Rosen of Princeton, put it thus:

“Prices ration scarce resources. If bread were free, a huge quantity of it would be demanded. Because the resources used to produce bread are scarce, the actual amount of bread has to be rationed among its potential users. Not everyone can have all the bread that they could possibly want. The bread must be rationed somehow; the price system accomplishes this in the following way: Everyone who is willing to pay the equilibrium price gets the good, and everyone who does not, does not.”

Medicynical Note:  Rationing is a false argument in health care.  We ration all the time now.  The question is how to assure access and quality while controlling costs.  The U.S. arguably has quality available but neither of the others. 

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