A Missed Opportunity To Lower Health Care Costs

A couple of weeks ago I posted on the problem of price transparency–or lack thereof–as one of the major problems in the health care market (here). The other major problem I referred to in that post was “the fact that consumers of health care typically don’t pay the bills directly, so they generally don’t take cost into account when deciding whether to consumer health care services”.

My colleague, Thom Lambert, has a great post over at Truth on the Market illustrating the problem very poignantly with his own health care saga. When consumers don’t take price into account, health care service providers don’t worry about competing on price, which means higher prices for everyone. Thom goes on to explain how tax policies and the Affordable Care Act make the problem even worse. Excellent read!

Microfinance Not So Miraculous Afterall?

Microfinance (a.k.a., microcredit or microlending) has been highly touted among many development folks and people interested in helping to alleviate poverty in developing countries (and communities in the US). For instance, Opportunity International claims:

Microfinance is the provision of financial services such as loans, savings, insurance, and training to people living in poverty. It is one of the great success stories in the developing world in the last 30 years and is widely recognized as a just and sustainable solution in alleviating global poverty.

There’s just one problem. There is virtually no systematic empirical evidence to support that claim. Continue reading Microfinance Not So Miraculous Afterall?