Health, Government, and Irving Fisher
This paper provides a few historical notes on government involvement in health, followed by a summary of the theoretical arguments that economists offer in its support. Irving Fisher's views and recommendations about health are examined in the light of today's perceptions concerning health, health economics, and health policy. The wide variety of roles that the U.S. and other governments currently play in health is reviewed and the ability of economics to explain these roles is assessed. The consequences of government involvement for the health of populations, for expenditures on health care, and for political and social stability are examined. The paper concludes with an overview of new worldwide trends in health policy and some probable explanations for these trends.