Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » OT: THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS

    Filed at 6:23 am under by dcobranchi

    The NYT has a pretty good piece up on what happens when the government “gives” a group of people “free” medical care. They use it. A lot.

    Patients say they have lots of specialists, and lots of tests. Asked how many doctors he saw, Leon Bloomberg, 83, a patient of Dr. Miller, thought for a minute and looked at his wife, Esther.

    “Between us, we have 10 or 12,” Mr. Bloomberg said, including a pain specialist and a neurologist for his neuropathy, a cardiologist for his heart condition, “a pulmonary man” for his asthma, a rheumatologist for his arthritis and Dr. Miller for his prostate. Mrs. Bloomberg has her own doctors, including ones for heart disease and for diabetes. “We have two to four or more doctors’ appointments a week,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

    …Dr. Colton, the internist here, is frustrated, too.

    “The system is broken,” he said. “I’m not being a mean ogre, but when you give something away for free, there is nothing to keep utilization down. And as the doctor, you have nothing to gain by denying them what they want.”

    That’s the problem with any program where the “price” (at least to the consumer) is zero. ECON 101.

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