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Imagine if, at the height of the Great Society, Lyndon Johnson had given older Americans a right to free economic advice — to help them plan for retirement, say — and paid for it on a fee-for-service basis. Initially, the program would have provided modest and inexpensive advice to generally uninterested retirees. But over time, clever and ambitious economists would create scores of expensive new consulting services, all paid for by the federal government. This payment system would lead to the constant creation of marginal services that trap taxpayers in a spiraling circle of rising costs and excessive services.


Glaeser, Edward L. "In Health Care, Fee-for-Service Means too Many Services." Boston Globe, October 20, 2011.