David R. Henderson  

Best Books on Health Care

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Reader Hume asked:

What is (are) the definitive free market health care book(s)? Thanks for any recommendations.

"Definitive" is tough. It's hard to be definitive in one book. And the ones I recommend are not entirely pro-free market. But these are the four that I like:

Roger Feldman, ed., American Health Care: Government, Market Processes, and the Public Interest. Unfortunately, I lost both of my copies in my February 2007 fire. :-(

David Dranove, The Economic Evolution of American Health Care, which I reviewed in the Wall Street Journal on January 8, 2001. It's an important look at the managed care revolution. He finds that managed care was an untold, until he wrote his book, success story. I like it much better than his more-recent Code Red, which I reviewed here [.pdf].

John L. Goodman and Gerald L. Musgrave, Patient Power. Dated in some ways but still good in others. Get the full version, not the abridged.

Arnold Kling, Crisis of Abundance.

Also, I recommend anything on health care that Ben Zycher writes. In this one on single-payer and the uninsured, he knocks it out of the park.


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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Jacob Oost writes:

Capitalism and Freedom by Friedman, chapter on occupational licensing. Also, the chapter on health care in Larry Elder's book The Ten Things You Can't Say In America, which provides a historical, health-care-centered context for Friedman's argument. But it's not an economics book, it's a political one (from a libertarian standpoint).

Reuven Koblick writes:

I would recommend Arnold Kling's book: Crisis of Abundance.

AS writes:

The Social Transformation of American Medicine by Paul Starr is extremely valuable as historical context.

In addition to Arnold's Crisis of Abundance and David R. Henderson's chapter in The Joy of Freedom, I like the following for addressing a broad range of issues, being well-documented, and quite readable:

The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care, by David Gratzer

Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It (2nd Ed.), Michael Cannon and Michael Tanner (Cato).

Hume writes:

Excellent. Thanks for the response!

Beezer writes:

OK, I'm game. So how do those European health care delivery systems do it? I've looked at the ratings and, frankly, we do poorly. And we spend more money as well.

Why can't we duplicate what they do?

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