Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Benjamin Rush Institute Debate on Markets and Health Care, Dec 4

The Benjamin Rush Institute will be hosting a debate tomorrow (Wednesday, December 4) on Kenneth Arrow's ideas of uncertainty as applied to health economics.  The set of panelists looks very impressive!

Here is their announcement:

Debate: "50 Years of Uncertainty: Are markets unsuitable for healthcare?"

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Kenneth Arrow's highly influential article "Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care," the Benjamin Rush Institute chapter of UTHSCSA School of Medicine is sponsoring a debate on whether or not healthcare is sufficiently different from other industries that it requires a significant role for government to correct intrinsic "market failures."
When: Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Where: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Medicine
Pestana Lecture Hall 3.104A, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78229

Avik Roy, graduate from Yale School of Medicine; Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute, Forbes columnist
Dr. William Sage, MD/JD, Vice Provost for Health Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Mark Pauly, PhD, Professor of Health Care Management; Professor Business Economics and Health Policy, Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Samuel Richardson, PhD, Assist. Professor of Public Affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Local audience members can RSVP here.

For out-of-town folks BRI says, "Regretfully, the planned live-streaming will not be available. A video recording will be posted on the website as soon as possible."

More background information on the topic from BRI:
Fifty years ago in 1963, Kenneth Arrow wrote what became a landmark article in health economics, “Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care.”

Arrow’s analysis is deeply imbedded in the economic theory of welfare economics — which in turn is built upon the belief that it is possible to determine a socially optimal allocation of resources — frequently along the lines of Pareto optimality – and anything short of that optimal state is a “market failure.” Arrow contends that the lack of optimality in healthcare, and the market failures which lead to it, emanate from variant forms of uncertainty, manifesting as problems of risk, insurance and imperfect information.  He discusses ways that society attempts to circumvent market failures through the use of non-market institutions, such as government, professionalism, nonprofit status, and trust.

Arrow’s article quickly became required reading for anyone studying the economics of healthcare — and even today, his ideas continue to influence scholarly and popular dialogue. Anyone with a serious interest in tackling healthcare reform needs to be familiar with Arrow’s analyses, in particualr, the problems of adverse selection in insurance, and of asymmetric information, both in matters of insurance and in doctor-patient relationships.

To celebrate Arrow’s contribution to healthcare economics, the Benjamin Rush Institute is hosting a debate. We have gathered an exciting panel of scholars who are well versed in Arrow’s work. Dr. Sage edited and Dr. Pauly contributed to a compilation of essays on the 40th anniversary, Uncertain Times: Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care. Avik Roy has written several op-eds critiquing the use of Arrow to justify government interventions.