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  1. Sigh.
    The ordinary meaning of the word inflation implies rising prices because of an undue increase in the money supply (i.e. “The bastards are printing more money!”). Some people add to this definition that a rise in prices caused by a decrease in quantity of goods available for sale is also inflation. But in any case, diminishing returns, or rising prices due to a shift in demand are not inflation. A professional wordsmith who tells us all why healthcare costs so much ought to know these things. I can only conclude she’s being polemical with her lead, and misrepresents Cutler on purpose.
    On the other hand, judging from the rest of the column maybe she’s just confused. There is no correct price for anything, and therefore to speak of overspending makes no sense at all. To the extent we get something we value for the increased spending, it is positively a good thing. The trouble is that the burden of spending and the obtaining of benefit are largely disconnected. And this is why healthcare costs so much.
    I think we all agree the purpose of medicine is to maintain health and to mitigate pain and suffering. And I certainly agree the question, “How much is an extra year of life worth?” is indeed an emotional red herring that distracts from the more important debate, which is: “How shall we honor individual autonomy and at the same time practice solidarity with all our fellows? If we find a way to do this, questions of medical efficacy and economic efficiency will answer themselves.

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