My latest Kaiser Health News column is posted. It includes this parable:
Our frustration with the soaring cost of health care is like a mother upset with the increasing price of bread. When her son returns from the market with another high-priced loaf she hatches a plan. The following week, when bread costs $5 a loaf, she attempts to control the price by sending him to the market with only $4. The family spends less on bread that week, but they also don’t eat any since the boy couldn’t find a merchant willing to sell below the market price.
The next week bread is selling at $6 a loaf, and the mother tries another plan. Thinking her son lazy, she attempts to discipline him with competition. She sends her daughter with him to the market. Whichever of the two can obtain the lowest bread price will win the family’s respect. The winning price, paid by the daughter, is $7. She and the boy competed, but the additional competition on the buyer side sent the price up, not down (as one should expect).
Read the rest here.