One of my favorite health economists is back again. This time, Uwe Reinhardt makes comparisons between the U.S. health care system and the nation of Afghanistan. In fact, he sees reform much like the Afghan war. He writes:
“…both are basically tribal systems that historically have fiercely resisted the constraints of any coherent national policy…The tribal chiefs in our health system are the heads of the myriad of associations that have been formed by the various economic interest groups who define ‘health care spending’ as ‘health care incomes.'”
He goes on to compare lobbyists to insurgents who write checks rather than shoot weapons. I don’t know if it’s the best analogy, but it is certainly entertaining reading. The real question–and the one Uwe poses at the end of his article–is which victory the U.S. will achieve first: passing meaningful health care reform or winning the war in Afghanistan?