New Freakonomics Podcast: Does College Still Matter? And Other FREAK-y Questions Answered

Freakonomics Radio

“Does College Still Matter? And Other Freaky Questions Answered”: In our second round of FREAK-quently Asked Questions, Steve Levitt answers some queries from listeners and readers.

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Our latest podcast is another attempt (here’s the first) to answer some of the questions you’ve asked us on the blog. (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen live via the link in box at right, or read the transcript here.) Here’s how it begins:

 

DUBNER: A reader named Jonathan Bennett asks, “Is it true that college education is no longer a factor, or [is] even a disadvantage, when it comes to employment?” Levitt, what say you?

LEVITT: [laughs] I think that never has anyone made a statement more false than Jonathan Bennett’s statement that education would be no help or a disadvantage in the modern economy. Of all the topics that economists have studied, I would say one we are most certain about are the returns to education. And the numbers that people have come up with over and over are that every extra year of education that you get will translate into an 8 percent increase in earnings over your lifetime. So someone who graduated from college will earn about 30 percent more on average than someone who only graduated from high school. And if anything, the returns to education have gotten larger over time. They’re as big as they have ever been.

Measuring something like gains to education is necessarily tricky: how do you sort out the effect of education itself when the college-going population is likely very different from the non-college-going population? To that end, Levitt describes a clever study that found a way to isolate the impact of education:

LEVITT: So back in Vietnam, men were entered into this draft lottery.  And if you got a very low number, it meant you were likely to go to Vietnam.  If you got a very high number, it meant you were safe. There was a way, however, to avoid service, which was to go to college.  So what happened was, the men who were unlucky and got bad draft numbers, many more of them went to college than did the people who got high draft numbers.  Now they wouldn’t have gone to college otherwise.  They went only to avoid going to Vietnam.  So what the economists have done is they’ve compared the people who got kind of medium draft numbers.  So they weren’t sure if they’d be drafted or not, but in the end they ended up not being drafted.  But many of those men still went to college.  And they compared that group of people, who were identical in principle to the people who were lucky and got really high draft numbers.   And those high-draft-number people — they didn’t have to go to college to avoid Vietnam.  So many fewer went to college.  And consequently, if you follow them through their lives — the people with the medium draft numbers, who didn’t go to Vietnam, but many more went to college — and you compare them to the people with the high draft numbers, who neither went to Vietnam nor went to college, and you see returns to education.

Another reader wanted to know Levitt’s view of healthcare reform:

LEVITT: Well, my friends in the Obama Administration aren’t going to be very happy with me, but I really, I don’t think it solved any of the important problems that we’re facing with healthcare.  So virtually every economist will tell you that there were two things you needed to do to healthcare reform to materially improve the situation.  The first was to break the link between the provision of healthcare and employment.  And that is just an archaic element of our healthcare system, which really makes no sense.  And yet because of tax subsidies, it’s the way most people get their healthcare — through their employer.  It shouldn’t be.  There’s no good economic justification for it.  And yet, if anything, I think this healthcare reform bill actually strengthened that link.  … [Healthcare] is virtually the only part of the economy where I can go out and get any service I want—cancer treatment, open heart surgery, have a wart removed, whatever it is—and I pay $3 for it or $5 for it or nothing, even if it costs $50,000 or $100,000.  I mean, imagine if you had the same situation with automobiles.  Where I could show up at the car dealership and I could say, ‘I want the Mercedes for free.’  Well, people say, ‘You can’t have the Mercedes for free.  You have to pay $50,000 for it.’  You say, ‘Why not, I have an inalienable right to free healthcare.  Right?  Why don’t I have an inalienable right to a free Mercedes?’

Note to Levitt: I don’t think your friends in the Obama Administration are the only ones who won’t like your views. Smiley face.

Finally, Levitt also addresses a listener’s question about how recent drug busts in the slums of Rio de Janeiro will affect crime there. For his take on that — you may be surprised — check out the podcast. Thanks, as always, for your questions. They were excellent, and we’ll keep answering them in future podcasts.

Audio Transcript

Does College Still Matter and Other Freaky Questions Answered

 

Stephen J. DUBNER: What kind of questions do you think we're gonna get here?  Do you think they'll be like life advice, stock advice, or more like you know, boxers-or-briefs kind of questions?

Steven D. LEVITT: Ummm...

ANNOUNCER: Freak-quently Asked Questions from Freakonomics Radio.  Here’s your host, Stephen Dubner.

DUBNER: So, you know, I'm just a writer and a radio host.  But my Freakonomics friend and co-author, Steven Levitt, he's a genuine PhD-holding research economist at the University of Chicago.  So once in a while, I like to drag him in front of my microphone to field some questions from you, our listeners and from readers of the Freakonomics blog.  We call it Freak-quently Asked Questions.  In our previous installment, Levitt talked about, among other things, the value of voting.  The economist's take?  Voting just isn't a rational way to spend your time and  energy.  Not surprisingly, quite a few of you objected pretty strenuously to Levitt's message.  I'm guessing today's program will upset just as many of you, if not more.  If I had to predict which answer is mostly likely to set you off--predicting the future by the way is impossible, but we human beings can't help ourselves.  That's actually the theme of an upcoming radio hour we're making now.  But anyway, if I had to predict which answer from today's episode is most provocative, I'd say it's when Levitt assesses the recent healthcare reform bill.  He also talks about whether college education is as valuable as it's made out to be.  And does increased policing in Brazilian slums actually help stop crime?  We sat down together in my office a couple of weeks ago.  Uh, Levitt, how do you feel about this prospect today?

LEVITT: Never been more ready!

DUBNER: Mmm, I like the confidence.  Confidence bordering on cocky.

LEVITT: You know me.

DUBNER: Alright, we’ll begin.  Levitt, here’s a question for you.  Something I’ve heard you talk about a lot.  Interestingly.  You’ve done some research yourself on gains to education.  So a reader named Jonathan Bennett asks, “Is college education no longer a factor, or even a disadvantage when it comes to employment?”  Levitt, what say you?

LEVITT: I think that never has anyone made a statement more false than Jonathan Bennett’s statement, uh, that education would be no help or a disadvantage in the modern economy.  So of all the topics that economists have studied, I would say one we are most certain about are the returns to education.  And the numbers that people have come up with over and over are that every extra year of education that you get will translate into an 8% increase in earnings over your lifetime.  So someone who graduated from college will earn about 30% more on average than someone who only graduated from high school.  And if anything, the returns to education have gotten larger over time.  They’re as big as they have ever been.  And I think it makes sense that the returns to education now are higher than they’ve ever been because of how the economy has changed.  It used to be that with a low education, you could get a good manufacturing job, lifetime employment.  But now with the Chinese competition for instance, almost all the manufacturing jobs are gone, because there are Chinese workers willing to work, who are able to do these jobs at wages that are one-fifth or one-tenth of what an American worker would demand to do it.  So, I tell you, I was in a taxicab a couple days ago, and this is a story that really exemplifies how the economy is changing.  Over the two-way radio, the dispatcher’s voice comes, and he says, “Gentlemen, I’m looking for someone to pick up one extra shift on the night shift, a new taxicab driver.  If you know someone, they need to have experience.  And I also need a college education.”  And I thought to myself, “If you need a college education to drive a cab in this country, what job don’t you need to have a college education for?”

DUBNER: Well let me ask you this.  How does an economist or anyone go about measuring—so the gains to education that you talked about.  When you talk about a relationship between an extra year of college, or graduating from college and future income, how do you know that you’re not just measuring that people who go to college are more motivated, smarter to start with, and how do you tease that out in the data?

LEVITT: Yeah, that’s a great question.  Because so much of what we do in Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics, is all about distinguishing correlation from causality.  And what you worry about is the people who would have earned money already are the ones who get more education.  So the trick is finding what I would call an accidental experiment.  So what you need is a way in which two seemingly identical people, because of some quirk of nature or fate, one ends up getting much more education than the other.  So maybe the best example, though somewhat of an old one, comes from the Vietnam draft lottery.  So back in Vietnam, men were entered into this draft lottery.  And if you got a very low number, it meant you were likely to go to Vietnam.  If you got a very high number, it meant you were safe. There was a way however to avoid service, which was to go to college.  So what happened was, the men who were unlucky and got bad draft numbers, many more of them went to college than did the people who got high draft numbers.  Now they wouldn’t have gone to college otherwise.  They went only to avoid going to Vietnam.  So what the economists have done is they’ve compared the people who got kind of medium draft numbers.  So they weren’t sure if they’d be drafted or not, but in the end they ended up not being drafted.  But many of those men still went to college.  And they compared that group of people, who were identical in principle to the people who were lucky and got really high draft numbers.   And those high draft number people, they didn’t have to go to college to avoid Vietnam, so many fewer went to college.  And consequently, if you follow them through their lives, the people with the medium draft numbers, who didn’t go to Vietnam, but many more went to college, and you compare them to the people with the high draft numbers, who neither went to Vietnam nor went to college, and you see returns to education of those kinds of numbers I mentioned before.  About a 30% increase in earnings, by virtue of going to college versus stopping at high school.

DUBNER: So that’s pretty fascinating.  But also what’s interesting to me is that for these guys who got a really bad Vietnam draft number, that actually turned out to be a really good thing for the outcome of their lives, in that a lot of them went to college who might not otherwise have, and therefore resulted in a—I mean, it’s a very strange, unintended consequence of the Vietnam War draft, yeah?

LEVITT: That’s right.  They earned a lot more money.  Now, economists don’t always want to say just because you have more money, you had a better life.  Now these guys had to suffer through college.  These were guys who didn’t want to be in college, and maybe, just possibly, they would have been happier living a life where they earned less money and had those four years to go ride around, you know do hippie stuff or something like that.  So who knows if they’re really better off?   They certainly earned more money.

DUBNER: Coming up, Levitt shares his opinion on healthcare reform.  And it will not make his friends in the Obama administration very happy.  Also, a look at Brazilian policing.

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ANNOUNCER: From WNYC and APM, American Public Media, this is Freakonomics Radio.  Here's your host Stephen Dubner.

DUBNER: Let me, let me play you another one here.

LISTENER: Hi, my name is Tabby Lei.  I'm from Denver, Colorado.  I have a question for you.  What do you think of the healthcare reform passed in 2010?  Thank you.

LEVITT: Well, my friends in the Obama administration aren’t going to be very happy with me, but I really, I don’t think it solved any of the important problems that we’re facing with healthcare.  So virtually every economist will tell you that there were two things you needed to do to healthcare reform to materially improve the situation.  The first was to break the link between the provision of healthcare and employment.  And that is just an archaic element of our healthcare system, which really makes no sense, and yet because of tax subsidies, it’s the way most people get their healthcare, is through their employer.  It shouldn’t be.  There’s no good economic justification for it.  And yet, if anything, I think this healthcare reform bill actually strengthened that link.  So I think that’s very disappointing to economists in that regard.

DUBNER: Just explain why that’s a bad idea.

LEVITT: So people say, “Why doesn’t it  make sense to have healthcare tied to employment?”  Well, I think  I actually want to turn the question around and say, “Why in the world, if you’re starting from scratch, would you link it to employment?”  I think there’s no good reason.  I mean, for one thing, many people don’t work.  And so you’re left with this situation where there are people who work who get healthcare through their employer.  And there are people who don’t work, and they don’t have an employer, and so you have to have these dual systems.  There’s no intrinsic reason why your employer should provide your healthcare, other than the fact that we started doing it a long time ago and there are enormous tax subsidies to doing so.  It leads to what’s called job lock.  It’s difficult to change jobs.  And it leads to circumstances where we have to have these overlapping systems which are inefficient.  Why is your auto insurance not tied to your employer?  I mean, no one in their right mind would say, “Well, my automobile insurance should be tied to my employer.”  Well then, why would my healthcare insurance be tied to my employer?  It’s just, there’s no fundamental reason why it should be that way.

DUBNER: And what does it do to employers to make them have to be the people who dish out healthcare?  In other words, there are all these large firms that are supposed to be good at one thing.  Making software, making cars, or whatever.  But then also they need to devote an increasingly large share of their resources and their bandwidth to running an insurance program for their employees as well.

LEVITT: I think that’s exactly right.  That you would think that if you had firms whose specific jobs were to provide healthcare insurance, that they’d be better at it than having Frito-Lay or GM or whoever it is.  I mean, they’re good at making chips, and they’re good at making cars, but why should they be good at making healthcare?

DUBNER: So that’s one piece of why you didn’t like the healthcare reform.  Because it did nothing to weaken the link between employment and healthcare.  What’s the other reason?

LEVITT: An even bigger problem with healthcare today, which was not addressed at all in the reform bill, is that people aren’t paying for the services they get.  It’s virtually the only part of the economy where I can go out and get any service I want—cancer treatment, open heart surgery, have a wart removed, whatever it is—and I pay $3 for it or $5 for it or nothing, even if it costs $50,000, $100,000.  I mean, imagine if you had the same situation with automobiles.  Where I could show up at the car dealership and I could say, “I want the Mercedes for free.”  Well, people say, “You can’t have the Mercedes for free.  You have to pay $50,000 for it.”  You say, “Why not, I have an inalienable right to free healthcare.  Right?  Why don’t I have an inalienable right to a free Mercedes?”  And to me it just makes no sense.  That healthcare is just like any other good in the economy.  And because we aren’t charging people for it, what it costs to produce, people are inefficiently consuming it.  They’re making the wrong choices.  And you can tolerate that if it were a small part of the economy.  But now that healthcare is 15%, 20% of GDP, we have to start treating it like what it is, which is another good.  Now people hate to talk about this trade-off between health and life and money.  But the fact is that, if not today but sometime in the not-too-distant future, we’re going to have to make trade-offs, such as my grandmother is in a vegetative state, being kept alive by machines pumping her heart, and instead of the state paying for that, they’re gonna say, “Well, look.  You gotta pay for some of this.  You can either take the $150,000.  We’ll keep your grandmother alive.   And use it for that.  Or you can put your kids through college.  Your choice.”  And people are going to have to start making those tough choices.  And they won’t be pretty. And they won’t be fun or happy.  But it is just—you know, economics is the study of scarcity.  And in a world where healthcare becomes more and more costly, the scarcity is going to be more and more binding.  We’re going to have to make those tough choices that are imbued with this moral element.  But nonetheless, it’s an economic choice when you get down to it.

LISTENER: Hi, this is Ricardo Castro calling from São Paulo in Brazil.  At the end of 2010, Brazilian army and the Brazilian police went out into the slums to fight drug dealers.  They took a lot of weapons and drugs from them.  Some say they lost millions of dollars over a period of two days.  And what happens?  Should we expect crime to decrease because of all the police repression?  Or should we expect crime to actually increase, because drug lords are trying to refinance--robberies, a lot of crimes?

DUBNER: Best regards, Ricardo.  What do you say?

LEVITT: Actually, Ricardo, I think neither or your predictions will come true.  I think a third prediction will come true.  My perspective is that the drug dealers who are selling drugs in these favelas have a tremendous incentive to keep those areas safe.  Nobody wants to go buy drugs in a place where people are getting shot, or where they’re afraid of getting mugged.  And so far more than the police, who don’t really have that strong an incentive when you think about it to keep crime low, the drug dealers need law and order.  And so I actually think two things will happen when you crack down on the drug dealers.  Well, really three things.  First, sure, you make it a lot harder on the drug dealers to sell drugs.  So you will have that effect of reducing the number drugs that are sold.  My guess is, though, if you go back to these neighborhoods, you will find that the amount of crime will have gone up dramatically after the police come to them than before.  And that’s both because the drug dealers will no longer have the incentive to keep things clean and safe and protect the buyers, because they’ll no longer be selling the drugs there.  Number two, the violence that surrounds drug dealing is all about the property rights.  It’s about the drug dealers fighting with other drug dealers to find a place where they can sell their drugs.  If you make it impossible for these drug dealers to sell drugs in the favelas they’ve already established in, then they’re going to go find some other place to try to sell drugs, and that’s going to lead to conflict between gangs.  And I think there’ll actually be a spike of violence as they sort out trying to figure out who’s going to have the rights to sell drugs in the new place that they’re selling drugs in.  So I think in the short run definitely you’re going to see more crime rather than less crime associated with the police coming into these areas.  Even more so, because these are, remember are Brazilian police and Brazilian police are not well-known for their honesty and dedication to duty.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised based on what I know in talking to people who have studied Brazilian police, that indeed many of these police officers who are now guardians of favelas are quite familiar with these areas, because the standard job of many Brazilian police officers when they’re off duty is to work for the drug dealers in the favelas, serving as security guards.

DUBNER: That does it!  Our second installment of Freak-quently Asked Questions.  We'll probably do another one sometime.  Thanks to everyone who sent in questions, and sorry we could only get to a few of them.  Freakonomics Radio is a co-production of WNYC, American Public Media, and Dubner Productions.  Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and you'll get the next episode in your sleep.  You can find more audio at FreakonomicsRadio.com, and as always, if you want to read more about the hidden side of everything, please visit our new, improved blog at Freakonomics.com.

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  1. P.F. Bruns says:

    I personally hold that health care is a fundamental human right, and that the Mercedes analogy is offensively specious.

    Consider: If I cannot afford a $50,000 Mercedes–which is honestly an entry-level example at that marque once financing and options are factored in–I can get a $20,000 Toyota, a $5-10,000 used car, or a $3-500 bicycle. (I can get even cheaper options than that, but in those price brackets, the prices for maintenance outweigh the price break for entry.) Transportation options abound. If I need a $50,000 heart operation, my ability to shop around, especially without insurance, is limited severely. I can’t just get a $300 bicycle.

    So why is health care a fundamental human right? The UN has basically had to declare it such, because otherwise, we as a species have a disappointingly amoral tendency to let each other die if there’s nothing in it for us. Economically, while I don’t have metrics, I’d be willing to wager that longer-lived healthier people generate more demand for goods and services, create markets by making new things and inventing new services, and therefore benefit society at large.

    The fact that it’s just the right thing to do–to NOT ask “What’s in it for me?” when a life is at stake, is not economically sound on its face, but longer healthier lives do benefit us all in the long run, I believe.

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    • Dave Auerbach says:

      It is easy to say that healthcare is a right. Perhaps it is. But if it is then individuals have an absolute responsibility to maintain their highest health, meaning that no one can be allowed to smoke, overeat, not exercise, drink to excess, use drugs, and in many cases contract aids, among other things. In addition to our current progressive income tax structure, a significant excise tax must be imposed on those who, by their own actions, have potentially increased their health costs to society. If they are willing to pay to sin, then they are doing their fair share.

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  2. P.F. Bruns says:

    The big economic reason to tie health insurance to employment–a practice with which I disagree overall–is that employers have a vested economic interest in keeping their employees healthy. A happy side effect for those employees fortunate enough to work for larger corporations is that those corporations’ buying power helps force health insurance costs down. You or I cannot go to an insurer separate from our employers and get our employers’ price breaks–nor can we get the government subsidies our employers get for paying our health insurance costs. (Well, at least not until the new health care laws kick in around 2014, if they do.)

    However, for me, the practice of tying health insurance to employment is counterproductive because it has the potential to cause employers to make health a condition of employment. Now, for certain physical jobs, employers have a good point–it makes no sense to give roofing work to a person using a wheelchair to get around, for example, to pick a person with a severe heart condition to do heavy lifting, or to hire a blind person to drive a bus–but in general, it tends to marginalize those with disabilities or health problems. Worse, making employment a condition of health insurance tends to make health care harder to obtain for the unemployed, who often need it the most.

    We need to make make health care easily affordable to all Americans regardless of employment status because healthier people buy more stuff. To do this, I believe we must:

    1) Require health care providers disclose all prices up front. I want to know how much I will have to pay for any medications (right down to aspirin or antacids), my hospital stay, the procedure, everything. That way I can price-shop in non-emergency cases.

    2) Raise taxes and cut other government costs. We’re going to have to do that anyway, so we might as well do it to make it easier to provide health care.

    3) Do everything economically feasible to lower health costs for consumers. The goal should be to commoditize health care, and make it as simple and as easy to get as buying a toaster.

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    • Dave Auerbach says:

      Having all costs up front is an excellent idea. And the numbers given MUST be the amount each provider will accept as payment in full, not some specious “master charge” fee that no one expects to receive. This would provide for real competition.

      In a somewhat similar vein, there should be different subsidies based on a number of factors. Highly efficient care should be fully subsidized, low efficiency health care have a much higher co pay. Individuals who have made life choices that have contributed to their illness (smoking, drinking, drug use, many cases of HIV, sedentary life style, over weight, etc.) should pay a much higher co-pay than those blameless.

      Some type of socialized medicine would be acceptable it immediately allows an increase in physician income due to a decrease in overhead expenses such as billing, malpractice, federal regulation,etc. Allow physicians to practice medicine.

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  3. Erin says:

    Your answer on healthcare confuses me. How is it like a car? I caught an infection at a hospital a few years ago, went into toxic shock and ended up losing one of my legs. Must have cost hundreds of thousands to keep me alive. Very expensive and I would never be able to pay that back without bankrupting my family. Thank goodness for insurance. So what’s the answer, let me die? Should medical research just stop because no one can actually afford the advancements that are keeping people alive? Probably you have an economic answer like your one about voting. But imagine your wife was dying in the hospital. Good idea to pullout of the ICU to stop from spending so much money. Or keep her alive to work (and pay taxes) and help raise your children.

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  4. Tev Kaber says:

    I remember one job, I had the same job title as another guy who later became a friend. We compared salaries. I had a college degree, he did not. The difference in salary? I made $1/hour more.

    A couple years later, we had jobs at different places, and he made much more than me. A couple years after that, we again switched jobs, now I was making more than him.

    On getting hired, work experience carried much more weight than a college degree, and negotiation skills can make the difference on salary more that a college degree.

    Currently I am at a Fortune 500 company, and while I do no directly hire people, I do read resumes, do interviews, and make a recommendation on who to hire. I do look to see where they went to school, but that’s more of a curiosity to me, I am much more concerned with skills, work experience, and actual portfolio work .

    If you’re wondering, I am a web developer, I do soup-to-nuts front-end and back-end web work (PHP/MySQL/HTML/CSS/UI Design).

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  5. Paul Hewings says:

    I echo the general dismissal of the Mercedes comment in regards the healthcare reform, but I think it is key to understanding why nearly all the comments have been negative. We all listen to Freakonomics presumably becasue we enjoy it and find ourselves agreeing with many of the conclusions drawn by looking at a thing we thought we understood through the spectrum of an economist; don’t bother voting: BRILLIANT, anti-social social networking: less so-but still engaging.
    The thing with healthcare is that to Levitt it is the same as a Mercedes, to the rest of us, it isn’t.
    He went on to say that if you took your 150k and you either used it to give your grandmother an extra few years of life or you can pay for your college education with it. Why should college require killing grammy for some people and not for others? No one chooses (unlike a Mercedes) to have an expensively ill grandmother, it is luck or the lack of it.
    Apply the same “Someone’s got to pay for it, so the end user should pay for the whole cost themselves.” argument to policing and you end up with a curious thought experiement. How would I pay for the cost of the investigation of my own murder? I hope I can rely on the rest of you to care just about enough to at least try to find out who did it and punish them accordingly. If not then I’m going to have to be a lot more polite.
    He is just an economist and therefore always starts by looking at the money, most of us aren’t and so disagree on this one. Not as much a criticism of the conclusion than of the limitations of the thought process. Unlike the excellent discussion on GDP with Martha Nussbaum.

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  6. Justin Gilbert says:

    Can the positive (or negative) impact of scholastic sports be observed? Another words, does the high school football team ‘bring the school together’ or ‘promote teamwork’ or ‘teach life lessons’? Even at the high school level and below, massive amounts of labor hours and money are devoted to organized sports. It there any data to show if it is worth it (from a freakonomics perspective)?

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  7. Ben says:

    Health Care is just like any other good? Do you really believe that?

    #1 If you don’t buy a Mercedes, you could buy a car for a small fraction of the price that is just as good (for practical purposes anyway, maybe not for “style” or “speed”, but it will get you where you want to go in the same amount of time assuming you are following the traffic laws). There is no such economical alternative for most health care costs. I can’t say give me the economy cancer treatment, it works just as good right?

    #2 Most goods aren’t life or death like health care can be. There are a few goods that are like food, water, shelter, heat, but most of these life and death goods are very cheap (and you can predict how much you’ll need of each very easily) compared to life and death health care costs which can come at any time and simply bury you. Also, if you really can’t afford those life or death goods, the government will generally assist you with them to some degree.

    All other goods are “luxuries”. I guess the few luxury health care costs shouldn’t be covered by insurance (most aren’t right now anyway). The overwhelming majority of health care costs are not something that people partake in “for the joy of it”. They do it becuase they are told to by their doctor. I’m not going out getting surgeries I don’t need because they are free so, why not?

    Health care in my opinion is like NO OTHER good. That doesn’t mean we have to abandon free market principles altogether, but we do need to recognize that we can’t treat it like any other good.

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  8. Miichael says:

    Dr. Levitt clearly has spent very little time in the American health care system. There are no longer 3 or 5 dollar copays for anything. Copays extend into the tens and hundreds of dollars for almost all services and procedures, if they are covered at all.

    To extend your Mercedes analogy, what usually happens is that you are told by your personal Car Expert that you need a Mercedes or you will die. You can’t afford one, and your Car Insurer says they won’t pay for one. So you walk. And you die.

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