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Review: "The Experts Were Wrong About the Best Places for Better and Cheaper Health Care"

This was an illustrated article posted by Kevin Quealy and Margo Sanger-Katz for the New York Times today.

I find stories about economics and behavior to be fascinating. I've been in practice for four-and-a-half years, and I've incorporated more and more behavioral principles into what I do. I noticed that in creating the ACA, they too put in behavioral hurdles to incentivize people to buy health care.

But this article proves what I suspected all along: the health care industry knows exactly what they're doing. And they're winning.

There is no connection between how much a place spends on Medicare and how much people pay in private insurance. For some places, both can be high, low, or a mix. So what conclusions can we draw from this thought-provoking article?

  1. The behavior of health care economics is currently skewed against the average American's interests. Someone's "winning" when a system is so convoluted that people can barely understand it. We've built processes on top of those confusing system, and the result is a hot mess where people are paying tons for services they can't get.

  2. Companies are NOT people. One line of the article states "the prices insurance companies pay for medical care are a major factor in which markets are expensive for private insurance and which are more moderate." Why are insurance companies paying for medical care? Do they have high blood pressure? Depression? No. So why are they in the middle of our decision-making process?

P.S.Y.C.H. eliminates all this mumbo-jumbo and uses basic market principles to educate and inform. It's really as easy as that. I use the pizza example a lot because it's true: informed consumers will choose where they want to get their pizza, but we as a society should still make sure that everyone has something to eat – which is where the yearly well-person exams come into play.

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