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Is health care a right or privilege? The economic consequences of that answer.

The Podcast by KevinMD

Is health care a right or privilege? The economic consequences of that answer.

"American medicine is facing an identity crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic brought renewed attention to socioeconomic health disparities and turned up the heat on the question of whether health care is…
July 14, 2021

Is health care a right or privilege? The economic consequences of that answer.

“American medicine is facing an identity crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic brought renewed attention to socioeconomic health disparities and turned up the heat on the question of whether health care is a right or a privilege. The financial strain on hospitals resulting from the temporary postponement of scheduled surgeries exposed a vulnerability caused by an inherently flawed payment system.

The answer to the right versus privilege question has much more significant implications than the resolution of a philosophical debate. It determines which economic model — that of a public good, a private good, or a common good — makes the most sense for the delivery of medical services. For health care to be what we want it to be, broadly accessible, with no socioeconomic disparities, and long-term affordability, it must eventually be recognized as a common good, with all of the economic implications that come with such a recognition.”

Tom Robertson is a health care economist.

He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, “Health care as an uncommon good.” (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/04/health-care-as-an-uncommon-good.html)

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