• An open letter to Russ Roberts

    Dear Russ,

    As you know, I am a big fan of EconTalk. I wrote a favorable review of it that you have posted on the program’s web site. I still like the program, but I’m not satisfied with one thing: there has been an insufficient number of health economists on the show. (Has there even been one?)

    Now, it may appear self serving that a health economist is asking you to interview a member of his discipline. But I think there are some very good reasons even a non-health economist would want such a thing. Health care represents one-sixth of the US economy. It is the source of current and projected budget problems at the national, state, and local levels. It would not be unreasonable to devote one out of six shows to the subject!

    Yes, EconTalk has addressed health care, but from the point of view of economists that do not specialize in it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But how about a little balance?

    Below is a list of health economists, each of whom I think would make a fine guest. There are likely many others. [Readers, please forgive me if I overlooked some good candidates and suggest them in the comments. This list is off the top of my head.]

    If none of the individuals listed are willing or able to come on your show, I will gladly do so. However, I am a poor substitute for these distinguished scholars. I only offer myself as a backup so that there is no exogenous barrier to including a health economist on EconTalk.

    Please try. I’ll be listening.

    Health Economists (inadvertently incomplete (with apologies) and in no particular order)

    Uwe Reinhardt, Mark Pauly, Amitabh Chandra, Joe Newhouse, David Cutler, Mike Chernew, John Nyman, Roger Feldman, Bryan Dowd, Tom McGuire, Hal Luft, Amy Finkelstein, Jon Gruber, Will Manning, Leemore Dafny, Henry Aaron, Rex Santerre, Katherine Baicker, Bob Town

    • I listen to econtalk every week, and I would love it if Russ Roberts interviewed some health economists.

    • Kate Baicker and Russ Roberts would get along well.

    • How about Cutler?


    • Hi Austin – A (very) short list of others to add: David Dranove, Steve Parente, Joe Doyle

      • @Leemore – Thanks. Good ideas. I’m not optimistic about this going anywhere. I sent the post to Russ Roberts directly and to the program’s email address. No response. I’ve been on him about this for over a year. I thought it reasonable for the program to not have a health economist during the run up to passage of the ACA as they are not supposed to talk about pending legislation on the show. But, how does one explain the absence of a health econ voice in the past year? I have only one remaining explanation, but I will wait a while more before I say it publicly. Maybe Roberts will surprise me! 🙂