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The Myth of the Rational Health Care Consumer


Economist Uwe Reinhardt recently argued in the The New York Times that medical education is a private vs. a public good, and therefore may not merit federal (or presumably state) funding.
Reinhardt approaches the debate as an interesting theoretical exercise, a matter of correctly applying existing textbook definitions from the social science of economics, and an exam question that helps him get the grade curve he’s looking for in his undergraduate economics classes at Princeton.
But his freshman students who get it “wrong” may have a better real-world grasp on the topic than their esteemed professor. They intuitively get what he misses: Health care is not a typical commodity, and human approaches to health care do not follow standard economic modeling.


Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA

A educator-scientist-executive with over 20 years of leadership experience in higher education, research, and healthcare, Dr. Azziz currently serves as Regents’ Professor, Augusta University; Senior Fellow, American Association of State Colleges & Universities; Visiting Scholar, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California; and former founding CEO, Georgia Regents Health System.