Harsh realities about the cost of health care

Alan Katz:

Someone has to pay for health care and there are only three sources: taxes, premiums or charity (some people pick up the tab for other people). Medical care inflation historically outpaces general inflation and there’s no reason to believe that will change. Which means it’s only a matter of time before the burden of paying for care crushes every and all of those sources.

Dr. Bob Newbell:

The harsh reality may be that there is no ceiling on how high health care expenditures can climb other than the ability and willingness of government, private insurance and individuals to pay for it.

American Enterprise Institute fellow Dr. Scott Gottlieb:

[R]ising health care costs are inevitable, and not much can be done about it.

Health care — or more precisely, health itself — is one of those open-ended human desires.  No one ever said he had too much health care.  We might insure every man, woman, and child in the country.  We might start screening small children for high cholesterol.  We could theoretically spend 100% of the nation’s gross domestic product on health care.  But after all that, we could still have better health care, fewer medication errors, more prevention, more detailed electronic health records, and so on.

We can certainly do a better job of more efficiently delivering health care in this country, but we will never escape the iron laws of economics.  Barring some fanciful Nanomedicine Revolution, the question, “How much health care do you want?” will always have the same answer:

“How much can you afford?”


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