In contrast to the fears that choice is only for the rich and healthy, this study suggests that relaxing the constraints on where patients can go for hospital treatment can benefit the sickest of patients, including those needing extensive surgical intervention. Hospital competition and patient choice can play a useful role in improving healthcare, even in heavily regulated and centralized systems.People who work in economics get that decisions at the margin affect inframarginal producers and consumers as well. That's a difficult concept to get across to everyone else. Although it might be the case that "the rich and the healthy" (the marginal consumers) are exercising more choices the actions taken by the clinics to respect those choices lead to improvements for "the sickest of patients" (the inframarginal consumers.)
WE KNEW THIS.
Hospital competition and patient choice can improve healthcare quality. Nice to see research consistent with the testable implications of price theory.