Individual Rationing vs. Government Rationing

Published July 22, 2011

“There is a strong moral component of medicine and its practice. But we also must remember that health care is an economic good: It costs money to provide it for people. And the moment something costs money, the laws of economics become important.

“The philosophical question is this: Should the government be responsible for providing that service for everybody, or should individuals buy as much of that service for themselves as they can, thereby introducing things like competition, lower prices, and innovation to the situation…. The experience of every economic sector, and it’s true of health care too, that the more people pay for things themselves, through high deductible plans and other methods, the more costs are kept down. Because who’s a better monitor of how much something costs and whether to shop elsewhere—the government, or you? It’s you.

“If you’re going to pay for something out of your own pocket, you’re going to keep an eye on how much the hospital is charging you for that procedure.”

—Avik Roy, a health care analyst at Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. and author of the Apothecary Blog (, speaking on the Health Care News podcast about rising health care costs. Listen at: