A Diabetes Legend
By Arnold Kling
From my latest essay
For me, it is a bit difficult to credit the notion that insurance companies induce people to choose foot amputations over preventive visits to podiatrists. Even if the podiatrist visit is not covered by insurance, it would seem that an individual diabetic would have a fairly strong incentive to go to the podiatrist, anyway. But apparently the folk Marxist appeal of putting the blame on the insurance industry overcomes any such skepticism.
I am criticizing a New York Times story, which blames the lack of preventive care in our society on the alleged fact that providers make more money with acute care. Economics tells you that providers make more money by providing what consumers demand.
Try to imagine writing the article with the focus on “why consumers fail to obtain preventive care.” The same health issues could be developed. The incentives to choose preventive or acute care would still play a role. All that you would lose would be the sense of drama about the evil health care system and its victims. Which is why the story will never be written as if consumers were making choices.