A new study from researchers at the University of Southern California found that 77% of terminally ill cancer patients actually prefer riskier treatments over proven treatments when the riskier treatment offers a 50/50 chance of extending life for three years – even when the proven treatment is a sure thing to extend life by 18 months.
And who’s to say such a risk preference is a good or bad thing? It’s surely not politicians in Washington – with God-complexes the size of Kentucky’s state debt – who continue to threaten to take that choice away from the individual patient through radical programs like Obamacare.
Socialized health care and one-size-fits-all medical mandates from Washington squash the possibility of following one’s own personal preferences and values when seeking medical coverage. Such a basic human right is the cornerstone of a free market in health care.
Obamacare would force all Kentuckians to purchase medical services they might not even value, and force generic standards on all the varying brands of health insurance. Just as Kentuckians are forced to accept the same brand of utility company, police force, and postal service, denizens of the Bluegrass State would also have to accept the same generic brand of medical care for all.
So how are medical czars in Washington going to decide whether doctors should provide terminally ill cancer patients with risky but preferred procedures, or whether doctors should follow some streamlined procedure to minimize risk, no matter the patient’s values?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer! Individuals have different values and preferences that cannot be measured against each other – a fact that makes lofty social engineering schemes like Obamacare doomed from the start.
The individual patient should be free to choose in such an important matter.
Product heterogeneity is the result of the invisible hand of the market allocating resources to best satisfy the demands of a diverse population of consumers – whether the industry be wrist watches, healthcare, or soda pop. This new study from USC confirms what economists have known for centuries: preferences are subjective and the spontaneous order of a free market place is the only process able to satisfy such diverse preferences – not health czars trying to force square pegs into circular holes.