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Government Health Care Causes Corruption

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This isn’t what Transparency International quite means to say here but it is indeed what they are saying. Government provided health care leads to corruption:

Almost a third of residents in the EU relied on personal connections to access healthcare during the Covid crisis, and around one in five in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Lithuania paid a bribe for such services, a report on corruption has found.

Across the EU’s 27 member states, nearly two-thirds (62%) of the 40,000 respondents in a survey conducted by Transparency International said corruption in their government was a major problem and three-quarters (76%) said it had been stagnating or getting worse.

The clear and obvious point being that if health care is offered at market prices then there’s no point in paying a bribe for it, is there? Because if you pay the market price then you get the health care.

It’s only if government is offering something at other than market price – say, free at the point of use – that bribery works.

Now, this doesn’t then lead to the conclusion that health care must be entirely free market. We’re all agreed that A&E running off the idea that your slashed jugular only gets stitched if you’ve got the cash upfront isn’t quite the world that we want.

Yes, free markets does include all sorts of things like insurance companies, self-help cooperatives and so on. And yet an entirely free market, with no government financing at the very least, for the poor and or the weirdly stricken, rather rolls against the society we’d desire to have.

And yet this other part of that same equation does need to be highlighted. As Transparency International points out. If things are offered at non-market prices then bribery works. So, non-market prices will lead to bribery.

It’s all swings and roundabouts, costs and benefits, of any course of action. But it is necessary to point out what the costs and benefits are before a decision is made, no?

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