This paper discusses in-patient treatment for heroin addiction to illuminate the issue along with the precepts of public versus private goods. The paper uses various arguments (e.g., rivalry, excludability, efficiency, and market failure) to argue that in-patient treatment for heroin addiction is a private good with some public good aspects. This determination gives rise to adverse economic implications for health care, such as deterioration of health and low productivity among addicts.
The discipline of health economics is gaining prominence in many countries due to myriad issues facing health care organizations, such as scarcity of important resources, risks and benefits, opportunity costs, prioritization of resources, and choice (Nair & Tushune, 2013; Pauly, 2007). The debate on public versus private goods has permeated discussions related to health economics as stakeholders in the health sector attempt to allocate scarce resources to meet the needs of the population (Getzen, 2013). This paper discusses the good of in-patient treatment for heroin addiction to illuminate the issue along with the precepts of public versus private goods.
Description of Good
In-patient treatment for heroin addiction can be described as a type of in-house or residential treatment program that requires patients to stay at the drug rehabilitation facility for a specified time frame depending on the extent of their addiction (Hilton & Pilkons, 2013). In the United States, such treatment programs are offered by public and private players and can be quite expensive to maintain. In-patient rehabilitation centers for heroin addiction are very effective among addicts who have overdosed on heroin in the past and those who have used the drug for a long time.
Explanation of Good and Justifications
In-patient treatment for heroin addiction, in my view, can be deemed as a private good with minimal public good features. First, it is clear that the issue is a private good as demonstrated by the fact that many addicts rival in its consumption depending on attributes such as social class, wealth and prestige (Fang & Norman, 2014). For example, rich heroin addicts are likely to visit exclusive in-patient rehabilitation centers where privacy is guaranteed, while poor addicts are likely to be treated in government-sponsored rehabilitation centers. The second reason deals with exclusivity, where it can be argued that in-patient treatment for heroin addiction bears excludable benefits in terms of the fact that addicts who have no money to pay for high-end inpatient treatment centers can be prevented from enjoying these services through normal market forces (Getzen, 2013; Schenone, 2012). In the United States, it is easy to prevent non-paying heroin addicts from enjoying the services of private in-patient rehabilitation centers.
The third argument relates to the fact that in-patient treatment centers for heroin addiction in the country cannot be categorized as market failures because the provision of the good is perfectly assigned to the market (Schenone, 2012). Lastly, from the efficiency perspective, it can be argued that the in-patient treatment for heroin addiction is efficiently traded within the market due to its characteristics of rivalry and excludability (Getzen, 2013). However, the discussed good has some components of public good as witnessed by the government’s efforts to devote considerable resources to the provision of in-patient rehabilitation services for heroin addicts.
This determination gives rise to adverse economic impacts, such as deterioration of health for many addicts who cannot afford the private good, stagnation of economic growth due to low productivity among addicts, higher healthcare costs due to drug dependence and lack of adequate treatment facilities, and loss of productive years. From the systems perspective, it is evident these impacts are interrelated and may affect other core areas of society, such as the social fabric and security (Trochim, Cabrera, Milstein, Gallagher, & Leischow, 2006).
This paper has used several arguments to demonstrate that the good of in-patient treatment for heroin addiction is essentially private though it demonstrates some few components of public good. This determination gives rise to adverse economic implications in health care settings.
Fang, H., & Norman, P. (2014). Toward an efficiency rationale for the public provision of private goods. Economic Theory, 56(1), 375-408.
Getzen, T.E. (2013). Health economics and financing (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Hilton, T.F., & Pilkons, P.A. (2013). The key to individualized addiction treatment is comprehensive assessment and monitoring of symptoms and behavior change. Behavioral Sciences, 5(4), 477-495.
Nair, D., & Tushune, K. (2013). Assessment of knowledge of health economics among medical professionals: A study in Jimma university medical school, Ethiopia. Education in Medicine Journal, 5(2), 54-59.
Pauly, M.V. (2007). Risks and benefits in health care: The view of economics. Health Affairs, 26(3), 653-662.
Schenone, K. (2012). Health care: Public or private good? Web.
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