Healthy Competition

What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It

About the Book

America’s health care system is at a crossroads, faced with rising costs, quality concerns, and a lack of patient control. Some blame market forces. Yet many troubles can be traced directly to pervasive government influence: entitlements, tax laws, and costly regulations. Consumer choice and competition deliver higher quality and lower prices in other areas of the economy. The authors conclude that removing restrictions can do the same for health care.

In the newly updated edition, the authors expand on their prior work with new analysis of the best and worst ideas in health care reform – on both the right and the left.

About the Authors

Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute’s director of health policy studies. Michael Tanner is director of health and welfare studies and director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security Choice.

What Others Have Said

“We begin with a riddle. What country’s health care system offers the best health services in the world, is constantly criticized for not being accessible enough, and yet is so accessible that overuse is leading to runaway costs? The first part of the riddle reveals that the answer could only be America. The remainder gives the contours of a paradox that vexes policymakers year in and year out. Welcome to health care, American‐​style.… To carry the health care debate on its next lap, America first needs a clear, well‐​informed, and well‐​reasoned analysis of the apparent paradox of its health care system. And it needs an agenda for reform that respects the wonders that modern medicine has developed and the creative market processes that deliver them. Cannon and Tanner offer proposals that would further tap the power of markets to make health care more valuable and more affordable. That makes Healthy Competition essential reading.”
—George P. Shultz, Former Secretary of State

“Surprisingly readable, extraordinarily comprehensive, highly persuasive. Read how the key to improving health care in the United States is to convert the patient from a ward of the state to an independent, self‐​interested customer.”
—Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate in Economics

“Health care costs and insurance premiums are rapidly increasing, making both insured and uninsured consumers worse off…[P]olicymakers are again confronting the fact that change is desperately needed. The direction of that change, however, is anything but settled. Does the solution lie in private markets, greater government involvement, or some combination of the two? Healthy Competition is a timely and important contribution to this debate. The authors argue passionately that markets are the best available vehicle for reforming the health care system. In general, their philosophy is that reform should increase the number of decisions made by patients and decrease the number of decisions made by government officials.”
—Deborah Haas‐​Wilson, Smith College, in New England Journal of Medicine

Healthy Competition…is a valuable challenge to the health policy community to take health policy debates to a moral plane where consumer welfare and individual freedom are given more than just lip service.”
—Clark Havighurst, Duke University School of Law, in Health Affairs

“[Healthy Competition] should be read by anyone who wants to understand the free‐​market health care movement and the challenge it poses to liberal orthodoxy in health policy.”
—Professor Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, Health Economics, Policy and Law

“In Healthy Competition, Michael F. Cannon and Michael D. Tanner provide a concise and highly readable summary of the evidence refuting the case against market competition in health care. Cannon and Tanner… provide a valuable service by accumulating the evidence that demonstrates that although health care is not the “same” as personal computers or household appliances, it is not so “different” that market forces cannot work to consumers’ benefit.”
—Robert L. Ohsfeldt, Texas A&M Health Science Center, The Independent Review

“By restoring free market dynamics to the healthcare system, the authors propose to cure many of the ills that plague it. This book should prove to be an invaluable resource for anyone looking for a concise exposition and analysis of what is wrong with our health care system and interesting ways to repair it. There is valuable information on almost every page of this well‐​researched study. Even if the reader disagrees with some of the suggested solutions, this is a fact‐​packed read that will provide reference material for quite some time to come.”
—Kirk Hoewisch, President, HSA Bank [Read the full review]