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While some proposed reforms for reducing excessive demand have merit, their unpopularity has only served as an excuse to delay a supply response.
Economist Henry Hazlitt provides the following description: Prices are fixed through the relationship of supply and demand. When people want more of an article, they offer more for it. This increases the profits of those who make the article.Since the 1980s, the government has used its buyer monopoly power, through its Medicare and Medicaid programs, to effectively set price and quality controls (e.g., underpayments) on physicians and hospitals (Stagg-Elliot 2012).For the same purpose, the Federal and state governments promoted the concentration of private insurance into buyer monopolies (e.g., HMOs).Although costs have continued to rise at the same double the rate of inflation, it is questionable the extent to which prices are now set by the laws of supply and demand.Obamacare is expected to expand coverage by about 22 million people with subsidies and another 17 million through Medicaid.