Friday, January 11, 2008

Another Reason Not To Support Socialized Medicine

We can't even figure out how to pay promised benefits for Medicare and Social Security yet, but many (mostly Democrats, but some RINOs as well) want to add socialized medicine to the list of government-provided benefits. Perhaps they should read this very short article from the Financial Times (registration required after a couple sentences):

The US is at risk of losing its top-notch triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending, Moody's, the credit rating agency, said yesterday.

Personally, I support small clinics in Wal*Mart and similar places--but some don't, probably because they then wouldn't have an excuse to foist more government control on us.


Ellen K said...

I don't know why people get so bent out of shape over having a clinic at Walgreen's or Walmart or Sears. Have you tried to get an appointment at a conventional doctor's office? If they are on your plan, they are booked solid. When I had what turned out to be appendicitis, my doctor had no time to see me for three days. I went to the emergency room, luckily. But what if it had just been indigestion or food poisoning? Then I would have had an ER visit which wasn't necessary. These clinics serve a purpose. And anyone who thinks giving the government power over medicine will improve services hasn't dealt with social security or Medicare in the past few year. It's a mess and getting worse.

allen said...

My concern is, as with education, we're wealthy enough to afford a socialized system and maintain some semblance of a decent system, health or public education, just at a time when the technology will enable significant cost reductions.

As an example, there's the recent announcement of the positive, even dramatic, results of the experimental use of Enbrel on Alzheimer's patients.

Consider what would happen to the cost of medical care if what happened to state mental hospital residents in the 60's happened to Alzheimer's patients in the 00's.

The introduction of psychotropics caused the patient population in the state-run mental health care system to simply collapse so that now there are many state mental health facilities that stand empty.

There are a number of technologies that bear on different areas of medicine that could have similar, dramatic impacts on the cost of medicine.

There's the so-called "lab on a chip" technology that *will* drop the cost of lab tests into the pocket change region.

Robot surgery is still in it's early stages but it's already, dramatically cutting surgical costs while improving results.

Trouble is, we're rich enough to afford to freeze our medical technology at its current level which is what socialized medicine does. That's why Canadians wait months for an MRI while there streets in Florida with MRI clinics in strip malls. It's the competitive impulse that drives innovation and the competitive impulse is the first thing muzzled with the introduction of socialized medicine.