Why the Economic Aspects of Healthcare are not Unique

Stephen Chambers


Frequent claims suggest that healthcare and its production are not only different from other goods, but that they differ to such an extent that healthcare should be viewed as unique. Various features of healthcare, such as the lack of a perfect market and the existence of information asymmetry, are cited as evidence of this claim. However, such a view results from unduly emphasising the characteristics of healthcare as being atypical. This article redresses this imbalance by taking an alternative approach and examines the ways in which the economic aspects of healthcare are similar to those of other goods. It was found that the differential aspects are less distinctive than claimed and the economic aspects of healthcare are not unique.

Keywords: Healthcare Sector; Medical Economics; Economic Competition; Competitive Behavior; State Medicine; Insurance Selection Bias; Patient Participation; Health Services Research.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18295/squmj.2020.20.02.006


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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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