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« Beer Joke | Main | Tale of Survival and Luck »


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Stated differently, medical goods and services, like all goods and services, must be rationed. You can ration either by price or by politics, by cost or by waiting time, by your preferences or by Paul Krugman's. But you must ration somehow. It is not just a law of economics but practically a law of physics.

Anyone who claims that, in health care or in anything else, "everyone can have everything" is simply a liar or a fool.


Or, most commonly, a liar seeking the fool's vote.


There is another way. A way that is a twist on much of the modern ideas of market power and scarcity pricing.
Consider this. A ventilator, though potentially a complex piece of equipment is less complex than many items people have in their homes costing a few hundred dollars or less. Ventilators cost more of course because of low production volumes and the imposed costs of the approval process. Ventilators made in the 1950's, though they had far less sophisticated controls were able to save lives. All a ventilator needs to do is reliably pump air to a patient in a controlled fashion. The dramatic reduction in the cost of general computer control systems and sensors means that it is possible today to build a ventilator from commonly available components. The hard part is the software. This is a perfect opportunity for an open source approach. This is already being done. See the Pandemic Ventilator Project at

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