Fogel Vs. Wonks
By Arnold Kling
Reading Robert Fogel’s latest book, I noticed that he provided some simple but paternalistic proposals for health care.
Robert Fogel says that we should stop thinking of the problem of poverty and health care as one of insurance and instead think of it as one of convenience. Rather than initiating the poor into the wonderful world of insurance company rules and claims-filing procedures, Fogel suggests that we would do more good by directly providing them with prenatal and postnatal care, health care education and mentoring, child health screening in public schools, and neighborhood public health clinics.
These ideas struck me as refreshing when compared with what I call Wonkism–“which is the design of policy solutions that are too complex and subtle for the victims — er, I mean the public, to understand.”
For Discussion. Many economists argue that our health care policies encourage over-utilization by most people. Yet Fogel argues that the poor under-utilize health care. What evidence supports or refutes these hypotheses?