Bryan Caplan  

Systematically Biased Beliefs About the Causes of High Health Care Costs

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The day after I met Ezra Klein and gave him my 10-minute spiel on systematically biased beliefs about economics, he provides a neat example. (My influence? I can dream, can't I?) Discussing findings from a new Kaiser survey on health care, Klein writes:

As for what's driving all these high costs, the reported culprits, in descending order, are excess profits of drug and insurance companies, medical malpractice lawsuits, fraud and waste, overpaid doctors, administrative costs, unnecessary treatments, unhealthy lifestyles, expensive new treatments, the aging population, and better medical care. That's depressing. In order to get an accurate view of what's driving health costs, you'd need to basically invert that list. To say the American people have it backwards is to be unusually precise.

So far, so good. But it makes you wonder: If he's right about this, why is Klein so reluctant to second-guess public opinion about the best way to pay for health care?


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