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Unsustainable Healthcare - a new report

The Council of Economic Advisors just released a report on Healthcare Reform. Their bottom line, like almost all other government and private analyses, is quite simple - the American healthcare system is unsustainable.

They conclude that healthcare has an inefficiency of about 30% compared to other countries. In other words, about a third of our healthcare expenditures are completely wasted. Since the benchmarks (other countries) are also imperfect, the actual waste is even higher.

As an engineer and device designer, the following paragraph from the report stood out:

"In most fields, technological progress is generally cost-reducing as individuals discover more effective ways of accomplishing things that were already being done. In medicine, however, technological progress in recent decades has been almost exclusively cost-increasing, without generating a commensurate increase in value. Undoubtedly, provider incentives, which largely reward finding an expensive way of treating a previously untreated condition rather than finding a less costly alternative to an existing treatment, contribute to this trend."

I've been beating this drum for years now. Why do medical devices keep getting more expensive, when every other technology gets cheaper? It's time to see cost-reducing innovation in medicine, just as we've seen it in every other sphere of technology.

I'm pleased to see that someone in Washington is finally getting wise to this problem.

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