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Ep. 88 The Stupidity of the American Healthcare Consumer?

Dr. G. Keith Smith

The Affordable Care Act was allegedly passed thanks to “the stupidity of the American voter.” The economist who made that claim—and who is also considered to be one of the architects of the law—has recently published a working paper that examines whether better informed patients make better healthcare decisions. He and his colleagues conclude in the negative.

To help us gain a better perspective on that paper we’ve invited Dr. Keith Smith back to the show. Dr. Smith is the co-founder of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, a pioneering institution in free-market medicine. As such, he has direct knowledge of the behavior of healthcare consumers and offers us his insights on the chasm that exists between the way healthcare policy makers conceive of medical practice and how ordinary patients actually seek the best possible healthcare value for themselves.


G. Keith Smith’s blog and Twitter


Michael Frakes, Jonathan Gruber, and Anupam Jena. “Is Great Information Good Enough? Evidence from Physicians as Patients” NBER Working Paper 26038

Free Market Medical Association


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1 Comment

  1. Fouradoulas, Marc on 08/11/2019 at 10:47 AM

    Great analysis, and thank you for pointing out the habitual side of medical care, Michel! It’s a big thing.
    Most patients are patients out of habit. Medical care traditional and habitual. Don’t question it 😉

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