It’s hard to be economically rational when you’re sick image

The Hill, March 21, 2018
Christopher T. Robertson (Academic Fellow alumnus) and Victor Laurion


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From the article:

We may be in the early days of a changing political ideology. For decades, politicians on both sides have espoused the belief that copayments and other out-of-pocket charges are necessary to reduce consumer demand for health care. The simple economic argument goes: If patients “feel” some of the health-care cost, those patients will make more prudent health-care choices and forego unnecessary care.

Recently, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb openly questioned these long-held cost-sharing principles. In his prepared remarks, Commissioner Gottlieb posited with regards to copayments on chemotherapy drugs, “Is a patient really in a position to make an economically-based decision?...Of course not.”

While this exception to economically-rational behavior seems intuitive to many, it is a notable departure from the political rhetoric dating back to the beginning of Medicare. Democratic President Johnson expressed his concern that people would abuse the newly-formed Medicare benefit by demanding unnecessary treatment.

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