[EconTalk] Keith Smith on Free Market Health Care

Keith Smith on Free Market Health Care

18/11/2019 by EconTalk: Russ Roberts

Web player: https://podplayer.net/?id=87277456
Episode: http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2019/SmithKhealthcare.mp3

Entrepreneur and Anesthesiologist Keith Smith of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma talks with host Russ Roberts about what it’s like to run a surgery center that posts prices on the internet and that does not take insurance. Along the way, he discusses the distortions in the market for health care and how a real market for health care might function if government took a smaller role.

Listen Date: 2020-01-31


  • I don’t think I gained any insight from this – it was just one of those episodes so fascinating that you go along for the ride; and then tell everybody apologetically that you can’t really explain what it’s about, they have to listen for themselves.
  • EconTalk over the last couple of years has slowly unpacked the confusing black box of American Healthcare for me to the point that I can now understand how it’s so nightmarish.
  • But the bit about collecting thirteen thousand dollars on a hundred thousand bill; and on why the discount was a scam – it was again one of those mindbending complexities that I couldn’t follow properly and understand why it’s a scam and not just, scammy.
  • I was fascinated by the concept of “Self funded healthcare plans” where employers decide to cut out the insurance company middleman and just pay hospitals directly.
  • All in all, this is about disintermediation and doctors owning the hospital and payment. In an ideal world, there would be a variety of models, and this wouldn’t be so niche.


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