Thursday, May 22, 2008

Health, Politics, and Technology

I had a new experience today at Club Med. When I come in for my tune up visits they need to put in a "Pic" line. This is an I-V that goes about a foot up into your veins. Most of the time these a place in radiology either using a flouriscope and having dye shot in your veins or with an ultrasound. This time a nurse came into my room with a portable ultrasound and placed the line.

Typically a line placed in radiology costs about $3k. This probably still ran by a five hundred and a thousand dollars, but still a considerable savings.

The health care industry is a very creative area of our society. Those who work in the field are constantly trying to improve. It's one place where people try to inovate for reasons other than personal gain. (Though some inovations are profitable.) It's the nature of those who work in this vocation to want to help others. It must also be said that the U.S. health care system is best in the world. Yet, health care has now become a political football. Of course it is the cost of health care is the problem. Yet, I believe that the health care industry, left unfettered would solve the problem of cost. They would innovate, as this hospital has, using new technologies like portable ultrasound to manage costs as well as improve treatments.

The health care industry is the victim of two kinds of socialism. The government has become a major provide of health care funding. Yet, they underpay the providers, drivng everyone's costs higher. I understand the motives of those who created government health care coverage. I myself have benifitted from this at times. But it is hurting this increasingly vital industry. It is a given that it should be our national policy to move as many people as possible off of government health care programs. But private insurance has, at the same time, imposed its own form of Schumpeteran socialism. In Joseph Schumpeter's model the large corporations basicly each take control of their sector of the economy, eliminate compitition and maximize profits. This is what managed health care programs are all about. They benifit no one but the insurance companies. So the solution is not just getting people off of government programs but also getting them into private insurance that is not corporate socialism either. This would turn doctors and hospitals loose to innvate and continue to improve this already great health care system.

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