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.
THE REAL WORLD
In the United States, health care ...