June 2nd, 2008

Money

Disease preventing lifestyle mystery

It seems to be widely agree that many of our illnesses, and not least the most common killers, can be delayed or even avoided by certain lifestyles. Many of these lifestyle changes cost nothing extra, quite the opposite: Avoiding smoke, walking or biking instead of taking the car over short distances, eating less meat.

Classic economic theory predicts that people will be more likely to choose a disease-preventing lifestyle if they have to bear the cost of their own medical expenses directly, that is to say, if they don't have health insurance. The least likely at all to live healthy would be those with state health insurance ("universal health care"). Yet the real world experience is the exact opposite. What gives?