Thursday, February 6, 2014

distinguishing between health, health care, and health insurance

The following was dropped in the editing process from my Independent Review article or my Cato Journal article on health care/insurance.
I can understand why my three "starting points" were cut-- in the interest of space trade-offs within a journal. For economists, these are examples of "re-creating the wheel"-- and thus, not a good choice for inclusion in a journal article. But for the unwashed, these are important points to make. (They are a frequent part of my public presentations or at least the Q&A afterwards.)
So, I'll publish them myself! ;-)
Below is "starting point" #1. Follow this link for #2 and this link for #3. 


Physical health is the goal in this realm—the economic good. Having health contributes to one’s level of utility or satisfaction. But it would be even better to have health without health care or health insurance. This also implies trade-offs between the desire for health and the cost of health care and health insurance.

In contrast, “health care” implies a lack of health prior to pursuing care-- or preventative care to deal with a potential lack of health. Health care services, for their own sake, are worthless. Health care which does not achieve improved health is without benefit. Health care is only valuable insofar as it improves health outcomes.

Health insurance is a mechanism by which some of the costs of health care are offset by a standard insurance arrangement or by some form of pre-payment. Individuals who purchase insurance are willing to bear those costs in order to reduce the expected future value of their health care costs—particularly in avoiding “catastrophic” costs. On the other side of the coin, health insurance companies are willing to accept premiums that exceed, in aggregate, the expected future benefits to be paid out.

Many times, in public discussions, these three concepts are conflated. But they are distinct. In a word, one can be healthy without health care or health insurance; one can have health care or health insurance without having good or improved health; and one can receive health care without health insurance. And in the real world, we see all of the above.


At February 7, 2014 at 12:27 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At April 23, 2014 at 5:25 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At July 12, 2014 at 11:34 AM , Blogger Raisul Islam said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home