Health care is a convenient name for a collection of services provided by various people and organisations to those in need of that care. I contend that the provision of health care is not something which should be influenced by the economic laws of supply and demand but instead should be provided on the basis of need. In an ordinary supply and demand situation there is usually a product, good service or whatever that is subject to consumer demand, whatever that level of demand might be. General Motors has found out that consumer demand is important to a firm. Lots of people have eschewed purchasing GM products and have gone to other suppliers instead. So consumers can decide to purchase a GM product, a product from another competing firm or not to purchase a product at all. They have discretion. A sick person isn’t a consumer. They don’t have a purchasing discretion. They are sick and in need of health care. They can’t put off buying a new model until next year, they need health care now. This is what I mean when I say there is “need.” That is my argument for why I think a sick person should not be defined as a consumer. As I said before, health care is a name of a collection of services. I contend that those services should be made available to people on the basis of need and that there is no consumer demand at work in that situation. That’s probably my central point in this. There is no question that there is a requirement for payment for those services lumped together under the term “health care”. Individual providers such as doctors work at providing those services and so should be paid for their work. This is one area I can allow for some sort of concept of supply and demand. There are doctors who want to provide their services in return for payment. But of course the guild nature of doctors organisations interfere with this and in reality there are no laws of supply and demand in operation. But that’s another issue. So who should pay for the work done by doctors? The patient or someone else? If it’s to be the patient then the issue of ability to pay comes up immediately. Since this is about need and not consumer demand there is no discretion here. If the position is that the patient should pay then like in anything if someone can’t pay for something they don’t get it. This means that sick people in need of health care will not get it. Is that acceptable? I think from here the argument enters the realm of how health care should be provided – through a universal health care system (which may or may not be totally free in terms of price for services) or via insurance schemes of various types or to a you don’t get it because you can’t pay for it situation. But that’s another topic. My point here was just to try to explain why I think that health care shouldn’t be regarded as a consumer commodity (“commodity” in the usual and not technical economic sense). I contend that any assertion that health care should be subjected to the laws of demand and supply fall down because there is no consumer demand, only human need.