Sunday, June 21, 2009

One fast way to get around healthcare costs

I've been posting on healthcare a lot, because it's interesting, I think.

A lot of people have talked about removing the tax exemption for healthcare (which I can't decide if I support - I suppose I should, but I tend to think healthcare is worth having a lot of) or selling insurance across state lines. There are other methods, however, which seem to be more unequivocally good

I have two ideas for healthcare costs.

Firstly, tax the hell out of trans-fats. They absolutely carry massive negative externalities (in terms of price of insurance). Cigarettes could use higher taxes as well. Alcohol is another prime candidate. This a) reduces preventable disease rates and b) helps fund the healthcare required for treating everyone else. Pigouvian taxes for the win.

Secondly, there are a ton of procedures which doctors are not required for and nurses are perfectly capable of. Paying a nurse is much cheaper than paying a doctor. It seems reasonable to allow some more procedures to be done by nurses. This would be cheaper for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. hey trevor - love your blog - always a really interesting read. just a quick comment about an alcohol tax... it's a bit tricky since unlike trans fats (which carry NO value whatsoever, as you mention), the story about alcohol is a bit less simple. while excess alcohol consumption is undoubtedly unhealthy and unproductive economically, low to moderate consumption brings significant cardiovascular benefits to almost all subgroups. and while red wine is reported to be tops, any alcohol- beer, wines, spirits and even the nastiest bottom shelf vodka you can find -- confers benefit! Of course, alcohol is associated with increased risks of some cancers, most conclusively breast cancer in women, to further muddy the waters...