Failures of the Free Market: US healthcare

One of the things that continues to amaze me about the US is that Americans seem to believe they have the best healthcare in the world. Truth is, Americans have the most expensive healthcare in the world. A few of them have excellent healthcare, but most get the kind of treatment you’d get in a third world nation. Bloated, blue-collar Americans—gorged on diets of fries and burgers, but denied their share of US riches—are bringing the nation’s steady rise in life expectancy to a halt.

The chain of cause and effect

Here’s a plot outline: Narcotics are made illegal. Illegal street drugs are often impure, and it’s hard to get clean “works” (syringes etc.) Drug users try to avoid infection from injecting, by mixing antibiotics with their heroin. Naturally occurring staphylococcus aureus, commonly found in the nasal passages and easily spread by sneezing, rapidly gains resistance to all the common antibiotics. A woman in Detroit gets a staph infection. It continues to get worse for over a year, none of the drugs she is given have any effect on the bacteria.