John Cochrane: What Free-Market Medical Care Would Look Like

Link to ungated copy of “What to Do When Obamacare Unravels” on John Cochrane’s website “The Grumpy Economist”

I love John Cochrane’s health care proposal in the December 26, 2013 Wall Street Journal op-ed “What to Do When Obamacare Unravels”  (ungated on John’s blog).  It should work very well, and to the extent it is imperfect, experimenting with John Cochrane’s proposal would teach us a lot more about health care delivery than the Obamacare experiment will.

My favorite passage is this:

No other country has a free health market, you may object. The rest of the world is closer to single payer, and spends less.

Sure. We can have a single government-run airline too. We can ban FedEx and UPS, and have a single-payer post office. We can have government-run telephones and TV. Thirty years ago every other country had all of these, and worthies said that markets couldn’t work for travel, package delivery, the “natural monopoly” of telephones and TV. Until we tried it. That the rest of the world spends less just shows how dysfunctional our current system is, not how a free market would work.

I wish I had written “What to Do When Obamacare Unravels.” I have some hopes that what I did write, “Don’t Believe Anyone Who Claims to Understand the Economics of Obamacare,” is still worth reading as a companion article to what John says.

Update: There is a very interesting discussion of this post on my Facebook wall.