I don’t think doctors and nurses and other staff would have to pay the higher prices. Hospitals will buy them just as they do now.

The argument has nothing to do with protecting profits but rather with protecting those health care workers that we both care about. The current system that makes it illegal to raise prices is what fails them. And it discourages anyone from stockpiling masks other than the government, when a crisis arrives. That system is failing. Not theoretically. In the real world.

Finally, the manufacturing base in the United States includes many mask makers. We just need to give them the incentive to increase their machines and workers to provide the masks and other equipment that is so desperately needed.

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I host the weekly podcast, EconTalk and I'm the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap videos. My latest book is How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.

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