Market Power

Musings by an academic economist on the power of markets and the power over markets.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Invisible Hand Fights Back

From The Eclectic Econoclast:

Over the past couple of weeks, Jack has sent me copies of
several advertisements that have appeared in The National Post in Canada. Here
is the introductory text of one of the ads:

You don't have to wait to have your CT Scan. If you or someone
you know is on a long waiting list for a CT Scan (also known as a CAT
Scan) you have another option. Just across the border in Southfield, Michigan, you can be scheduled immediately on our state-of-the-art GE/Imatron CT scanner.

If a physician in Canada prescribed a CT Scan for a
member of my family, but we were told that there was a 4-month waiting list, you
can bet we'd be traveling to Michigan.

This is a beautiful example of the invisible hand fighting back. Who are going to be the ones who benefit from the massive controls on Canadian medical services? For CAT scan services, it will be those most willing and able to wait (or those most willing and able to get someone to put their names on waiting lists for them) and those most willing and able to travel to other countries to get their health care. Are these the poor? Not necessarily.