Choice, Costs, And Healthcare

Mickey has an excellent and helpful post on the subject. One point that often gets lost in the shuffle:

Just because rising health care costs have eaten up all of the average American's wage 090409_ChB_chart increases, it does not necessarily follow that either this rise was unwarranted or that health care costs need to be controlled. Maybe Americans, like richer people everywhere, want to spend more money on health care (as opposed to, say, newspapers) and advances in health care have given them more valuable services to purchase (or have their employers purchase for them). That's probably not true--and almost certainly not 100% true--but you can't tell it just by looking at Noah's big graph ...

If the graph showed that rising expenditures on computer technology had eaten up all the increase in Americans' paychecks, would we immediately declare a "computer cost crisis" and demand that rising laptop expenditures be constrained? Or would we say, "Hey, people are spending a lot more on computers these days"?