The downside of efficiency in medical care
Right now, Americans pay a lot for the health care they receive. Many folks don't have insurance, and Medicare is reputed to be on the chintzy side regarding reimbursements, but private insurance pays well. And, since the actual recipient (the patient) is largely insulated from the real cost of healht care, they tend to ask for/get lots of new and expensive treatments when they become available. My impression is that this is the/ one of the major motivators for the development of new diagnostic technology, new treatments/drugs, etc. Drugs are cheap in Canada and elsewhere, but the drug companies can still make a profit and fund research because of the lucrative US market. If I've got this right, sick patients the world over benefit by the inefficiencies of the US health care delivery system.
So, here's the question: If we do finally wring out the waste through whatever means (single payer insurance, nationalized health care, shifting of the insurance burden from employers to individuals, etc), won't there be a significant reduction in the incentive to develop new treatments?
I dont think the waste should continue, but I think we'll need to come to grips with a new way to incentivize research. And, it would be nice if the rest of the world would share in the cost.