Saturday, July 18, 2009

Serious Medicine in Action

Innovation is good, and economic growth is good--so if it seems expensive, well, let's just be glad we have the money to pay for it. As noted here at Serious Medicine, health care is a superior good. When you have the money to spend on it--you do!

A third example of U.S. leadership is that many important medical innovations in the past 30 years arguably originated in the United States. This evidence is based on a survey designed to determine the relative importance of a variety of medical innovations developed over approximately the last 30 years. Starting with a review of the medical literature, researchers compiled a list of 30 major medical innovations and then surveyed over 300 leading general internists in the United States concerning the relative importance to their patients of the innovations. Based on the survey, researchers ranked the innovations in order of importance. The first and second columns of Table 10-1 reflect the results for the top ten innovations
. -- From the 2004 Economic Report of the President, page, 192.

Research suggests that between 50 and 75 percent of the growth rate in health expenditures in the United States is attributable to technological progress in health care goods and services. Potential sources of the remaining 25 to 50 percent of the growth rate include: higher demand for health care due to increasing incomes and the aging of the U.S. population; the increased practice of “defensive medicine” (that is, medical procedures with limited therapeutic value that are performed by physicians to avoidlawsuits); and increased use of health insurance plans as a payment mechanism for health care. -- From the 2004 Economic Report of the President, page, 194.

No comments:

Post a Comment