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Opinion
Megan McArdle

Another Problem Obamacare Won't Solve: Health Costs

As the basic laws of economics tell us, when you reduce the price of something, people usually want to consume more of it.

Does giving people health insurance help control costs?

Conventional wisdom holds that it should, by diverting them from expensive emergency room use to less-expensive visits to doctors and nurse practitioners. This argument was very popular with advocates for health reform in 2009, and it remains a sort of folk wisdom among educated people; I've heard some version of this argument in virtually every discussion I've had about health care in the last decade.