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I suspect that what is being taught in enlightened public health classes is that things like expensive and high hospital and health insurance administrator salaries are the reason that health costs are so high. Now, there is actually a body of research on this question, done by capable health care economists, and some of those whom I suspect share the same collectivist desires as the typical public health professional, so I find it odd that the research is not well understood. I’ll leave it to readers to find it.

Very briefly, the puzzling thing about this particular trope is not that it doesn’t stand up to empirical scrutiny, but rather how utterly selective it is in its interpretation of value and cost. Think about it. The only possible reason a hospital or insurance administrator can exist is to suck money from us. In this trope, a hospital CEO, even at a non-profit, provides nothing of value – they are no more than the greedy leeches we know them to be. It is not possible that these executives provide value, it is not possible that they make it easier for medical staff to do their jobs, it is not possible that they do a good job assembling a talented and cooperative and successful medical team, it is not possible that they help provide the capital that staff rely upon, and so on.

Furthermore, all costs are characterized as pure waste. A dollar spent to a hospital administrator is a dollar flushed down the toilet. Imagine an analogy, every dollar of your wages paid by your current employer is a pure waste. Imagine how much better off your company would be if they cut your wage by 50%, or heck, if they cut it to $0!

Finally, like many “arguments” (i.e. Pravda manifestations), try extending the idea more generally. This is a perfect analogy, I’d like to see someone defend it. Here goes:

“The reason that the US federal government is constantly in deficit and has long-term federal debt issues is the high salaries paid to the President of the United States and all of the Congress and all of the federal bureaucracy. Clearly these salaries should be capped, or eliminated entirely, or the positions should be eliminated entirely and we would be well on our way to fiscal nirvana.”

Sounds intelligent, right?

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