Arnold Kling  

The Obvious Solution on Health Care

Self-Recommending this Week... Sovereign Debt and Confidence...

Why didn't I think of this? Jim Yong Kim and James N. Weinstein write,

What will lead to improvements is a multidisciplinary approach that brings the best minds to focus on the problem. Experts in management, systems thinking and engineering, sociology, anthropology, environmental science, economics, medicine, health policy and other fields must join together to apply a laser focus to fixing the delivery system.

I used to believe that trial-and-error under market incentives would work better than a cluster(*) of academics. Come to think of it, that's what I still believe.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (14 to date)
Daniel Klein writes:


Their "laser focus" makes me think of this:

"No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die! There is nothing you can talk to me about that I don't already know."

Jeremy, Alabama writes:

Yes, please, I would like an environmentalist involved in my health decisions.

Norman writes:

Question: What's the largest multidisciplinary research institution in the world? Hint: it involves all of the fields mentioned in the quote, along with many others, and not only devotes many of them to focus on the delivery system, but it devotes the time of only those with the most to contribute to solving the problem to work on it, maximizing the impact of their contribution.

Answer: Trial-and-error under market incentives, just as Arnold likes.

Arnold, perhaps you should look at this thinking from a Hansonian perspective: Elites dislike market solutions not so much because they dislike markets in themselves, but because the market devotes too many experts (defined in terms of context and results rather than credentials) to big problems, making it hard to build up the status of any individual expert. There's no glory if the market solves it.

Blakeney writes:

I just checked, and my PPO doesn't even cover anthropologists! You see, this is why we need healthcare reform!

kingstu writes:

So many of the worlds problems could be solved if we just got a bunch of smart guys together and let them run things. I point to the USSR as the best example.

Rebecca Burlingame writes:

... a continuation of the need to compartmentalize one of the most potentially vital areas of the economy we have into a limited package. Health Care is still seen not as a multitude of economic possibilities, but a single company of sorts which must reign in its costs. What governments don't realize is that by trying to keep control, they only kill the goose that lays the golden egg. That does not mean healthcare should continue in its present form which no one can afford. It means that health care should be opened up to all to participate in, as consumer, producer and healer.

Arnold Kling writes:

You should send your first paragraph to the Washington Post as a letter to the editor

Mike Rulle writes:

I particularly like the "laser focus" outcome of combining environmental scientists and anthropologists to the central planning "delivery system" problem of health care.

What I don't get about these people, is why do they stop there? Why not include every "delivery system" into their multidisciplinary approach, including what subjects should be allowed to be studied and taught in our "educational delivery systems".

SydB writes:

The iterative market solution is working great in the gulf right now. Yup.

Funny how this blog site hasn't had a single post on the gulf oil spill.

jordan writes:

i think that healthcare should be left up to the doctors and the insurance companies. The solution for it all would be people accepting that the average lifespan of americans has gone up, and this is a result of advanced medical technology. But providing healthcare for everyone, in my opinion, demeans the value of my own healthy self. If I live a healthy life, there is a good chance that I may never need to see a Medical Doctor. Why then, would I support unhealthy living?

Norman writes:

Arnold, I just did. We'll see if they publish it.

Nick writes:

I came here to post a snarky reply but Blakeney and kingstu beat me too it.

Michael writes:

This is typical overblown talk about how technology and grand design will fix health care. I've managed in hospitals for 10 years and have yet to see it. As for the much-vaunted electronic medical record (in the WP article, not Kling's blog post), that is unlikely to do much. We've had one at our clinic for three years and it provides a certain of reduced time costs in exchange for significant IT expenses. None of this will get fixed until people get more catastrophic insurance and less subsidized care.

Norman writes:

Just thought I'd mention, they ran the comment here:

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top