30 October 2009

What a Moron

I came across an article in the Washington Post yesterday....No really in the paper edition, about the problems with healthcare in China.

In a rather extensive article, they show how the increasingly private healthcare system is bankrupting ordinary Chinese:
China's health-care system is in disarray, a side effect of the market reforms that have spurred private enterprise and rapid growth since 1980. Before then, state-owned companies offered cradle-to-grave care, part of a system based on danwei, or work units, that provided health, education, pensions and other benefits. But as the economy has grown more diverse, an increasing number of Chinese have had to fend for themselves, with only a porous government insurance program to help.
While there are some problems with a shortage of medical facilities, particularly in the rural hinterlands, the problem is that people are having their lives destroyed by the costs that they must bear under an increasingly spotty system of healthcare access.

Nonetheless But further down, for reasons known only to God, reporter Steven Mufson feels compelled to bring in a complete idiot as an "expert":
China's State Council is eager to improve the situation but can't decide how. The government currently fixes the prices of all medical services, and doctors are treated -- and paid -- like public officials. But that has contributed to a shortage of doctors as many talented Chinese choose better-paid professions.

Some experts say more private spending and investment would improve the system. Gordon G. Liu, a professor of economics at Beijing University's Guanghua School of Management, said he would let people with means spend more money on care, which he said would increase the availability of care by giving doctors incentives to work harder and by luring more Chinese into the medical profession.
So this guy's solution is to raise prices, when the problem is not that there aren't enough doctors, but that it's already too expensive, because this will have doctors clamoring to treat all those rich people farming in rural areas?

Why on earth does the reporter feel compelled to bring this in to begin with? It has nothing to do with the problem described, and it is precisely the wrong thing to do.


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