Wednesday, September 27, 2006

In the news: What health care crisis?

In the news lately, there's been lots of ink spilled about the 7.7% rise in the cost of health coverage over the past year. But the first thing I read after my MRI this morning was a piece in the NYT by David Leonhardt arguing that the increased cost isn't really a problem, because most of the increase is attributable to the deployment of new technologies that have extended and improved life. According to Leonhardt, there may be some waste in the system, but the only way to achieve real savings is to limit care. While he acknowledges that the current trend is unsustainable, Leonhardt argues we should, as a society, acknowledge that better care is worth paying for. Interesting read. Snip:
Somehow, going to the mall to buy clothes has come to be seen as a vaguely patriotic way to keep the economy humming, and taking out a risky mortgage is considered to be an investment in one's future. But medical care? That's just a cost.

It's easy to be against high costs, and it will no doubt be hard to come up with a broad health care solution. But the way to start is by acknowledging that an affluent society should devote an ever-growing share of its resources to the health of its citizens. "We have enough of the basics in life," Mr. Cutler, the economist and author, points out. "What we really want are the time and the quality of life to enjoy them."
Link. And see this post about the future health care economy.

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