We’re encouraging addiction! I’ve never understood why so many health policy types so resolutely defend the idea of third-party payment. Isn’t it obvious that providers paid by third-parties will have an incentive to maximize against the payment formulas rather than serving as agents of their patients? Here is more evidence from Austin Frakt (who does not draw the lesson I am drawing here):
Sixty percent of the opioids that are abused are obtained directly or indirectly through a physician’s prescription. In many instances, doctors are fully aware that their patients are abusing these medications or diverting them to others for nonmedical use, but they prescribe them anyway. Why?
Among the reasons she provided are: “[t]he ‘all suffering is avoidable’ ethos” and that “it is faster and pays better to diagnose pain and prescribe an opioid than to diagnose and treat addiction.”