Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Take that, you straw man!

In debating Krugman, Tyler Cowen makes this point, to somewhat defend the ability of the free market to provide health care:
There are plenty of health care services in this country, such as laser eye surgery, or plastic surgery, which are supplied in more or less market settings. I don't consider their efficiency an open and shut case, but it's quite possible we'd be delighted if other areas of health care worked this well in terms of cost-lowering and innovation and even availability. It could be that these services are more transparent or it could be they are simply less regulated and further removed from third-party payment.
Cowen, laughably so, leaves out the most obvious reason for the competition that allows for "cost-lowering and innovation" -- these are totally optional procedures! You can shop around for the best price on laser eye surgery because you have time. You do not, however, have time to shop around for the best deal on a triple bypass. Further, insurance does not cover LASIK or boob jobs, and your health doesn't suffer if you don't get them. So this is really not the right way to prove Krugman wrong.