Obesity remains a serious health problem and it is no secret that many people want to lose weight. Behavioral economists typically argue that “nudges” help individuals with various decisionmaking flaws to live longer, healthier, and better lives. In an article in the new issue of Regulation, Michael L. Marlow discusses how nudging by government differs from nudging by markets, and explains why market nudging is the more promising avenue for helping citizens to lose weight.
In Bootleggers & Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics, economists Bruce Yandle and Adam Smith explain how money and morality are often combined in politics to produce arbitrary regulations benefiting cronies, while constraining productive economic activities by the general public.
Featuring Lorens Helmchen, Associate Professor of Health Administration and Policy, George Mason University; Mark V. Pauly, Bendheim Professor, Professor of Health Care Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; moderated by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute.
Can Medicare vouchers, such as the proposal authored by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that has passed the House of Representatives, restrain Medicare spending without harming the health of enrollees? Health economist Lorens Helmchen suggests that cash payments to patients, either through a lump sum or negative co-payments, could allow Medicare to “spend less by paying more.” Health care experts will discuss the benefits and difficulties of such payments, particularly how they affect Medicare spending, patient choice, incentives for cost-effective treatment, and medical innovation.