How Is An Emergency Room Like A Monkey Wrench?

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Which of the following is true: Emergency rooms are the most expensive venues for primary care — or ERs are the least expensive venues for primary care? Arguably, both answers are correct, providing a powerful example of why health care finance and resource allocation in America are so irrational.

Recall that the U.S. military allegedly paid $2,228 for a monkey wrench around 1980 (roughly $6,600 in 2017 dollars). In contrast, you can buy monkey wrenches at Wal-Mart today for between $5 and $30. So, depending on who writes the check, a monkey wrench can be either the most expensive or least expensive tool in your shed.