In broad terms, we must … invest in better information on the effectiveness of treatment options so it might guide the decisions of patients, health care providers, and public and private insurers. Our nation spends over $2 trillion on health care, yet we know far too little about the comparative effectiveness of alternative treatments. Such information is a public good, which has not—and will not—be [sic] spontaneously produced by the private market.
Except: the private market has spontaneously produced comparative-effectiveness information, as I documented in this study released one month prior to the MedPAC report. I also explain why the argument for government provision of public goods is shaky.
Ironically, MedPAC disables the “copy” function in the reports it posts online, so I had to type out the above excerpt by hand. Why is that ironic? It’s an example of the sort of innovation that enables markets to overcome the public-good problem. (But since my tax dollars paid for that report, it seems to be an innovation that maybe MedPAC could abandon.)