Public Good or Private Good?

A lot of your beliefs about health-care policy will depend on whether you see health care as a public good or a private good. Economists define a public good as one that everyone benefits from but that no one has a market incentive to pay for individually. National defense may be the best example, but others include the highway system, judicial system, and clean air and water. In contrast, a private good is one that primarily benefits individuals and that they will pay for. Private goods include virtually everything one purchases and consumes in the marketplace.
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THE REAL WORLD
In the United States, health care ...

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