We could cut U.S. medical spending in half without substantial net health costs. This would give us the equivalent of an 8% pay raise.
Hanson entertains responses to his essay by distinguished health economists David Cutler, Dana Goldman, and Alan Garber -- who are not as dismissive of Hanson's thesis as you might expect.
Hanson was my health economics professor. Only later did I learn he does not have a degree in economics. (Insert your own credibility-shattering joke here.) As he explains in his essay and elsewhere, "Most students in my eight years of teaching health economics have simply not believed me, even after a semester of reviewing the evidence."
I was familiar with much of the evidence presented, and so I found Hanson's argument plausible. But I am not so familiar with the evidence to be confident that I could find the holes in Hanson's argument. So I did what any student would do: I put my professor on the hot seat with A-list economists from Harvard, Stanford, and Rand.
So far, the discussion has been everything I hoped. But it hasn't yet zeroed in on the heart of the contributors' disagreement. I hope they will all stay engaged.