Brownlee’s (and Olsen’s) points are very relevant. It very much makes sense that in a free-market system where the ultimate goal is maximization of profits, health-care institutions would be less interested in curing illness efficiently. It is only rational (if amoral) that they would be more focused on keeping a catheter to your wallet.
For those who insist that the U.S. healthcare system is not a truly free-market system: you’re right. But it is a whole lot closer than the European systems which routinely provide more efficient care (not to mention the “socialized” VA system).
And yet still free-market apologists complain; most perplexingly about “undiscriminating” overuse (or abuse) of our health-care system, a complaint which I’ve addressed before. I would really like to know who these people are who “abuse” our health care system. How many people are making the regular, routine visits to their physician recommended to maintain optimal health? Just how many people are seeking professional medical advice at the first signs of developing problems? I’m betting the numbers are low. I suspect that to improve overall health in the U.S, we should be encouraging more use of the health care system (albeit use dictated by patient need rather than industry profit as mentioned in Overtreated) not less. The conservative attitude that we should just “walk it off” when our body warns us about health problems and only seek medical attention when things get serious courts disaster.