On Monday, July 16, 2001 3:11 PM Mike Lorrey firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> I wouldn't say that. I would say that they only focus on health problems
> for which there is a significant market, generally, and when they find a
> drug treats a rather rare disease, with lets say only a few hundred
> cases in the entire world, they have to not only divide the cost of
> tooling up, producing, and distributing the few doses of the drug to
> such a small market, that market has to absorb the huge amounts of
> research that went into discovering that drug. If, say, one dose costs
> many thousands of dollars, the drug company generally won't even put it
> through FDA trials (which is necessary to make it coverable by
FDA trials are not "necessary" to get the drug covered by insurance, they
are legally mandated to sell drugs in the US at all.
> You are improperly assuming that no capitalist would engage in
> philanthropic activities, which is actually how much of the non-profit
> research is funded.
I think philanthropy is beside the point, but you still make a good point
here. The rich generally fund their own critics just like in _Atlas
> > Did you know that many people who travel to USA worry about getting ill
> > while over there and accruing massive and crippling medical bills for
> > treatment that in Australia or UK or Europe would be relatively
> > inconsequential? Your medical system is heavily privatised and the most
> > expensive on the planet.
On Miriam English's point above: the US system is NOT privatized. It's
heavily regulated. In fact, I bet it's the most regulated part of the
economy -- unless banking is more regulated than it. The level of
government regulation and government subsidy in healthcare has been rising
since the 19th century. The latter took a huge upswing after the creation
of the Medicare and Medicaid programs during the 1960s. Before those
programs, a weeks stay in the hospital was affordable to middle class
Americans. Today, this is not the case. I don't think that's a coincidence
and there have been economic analyses done showing how government
intervention in healthcare is the main cause here. (See, e.g., Sanford
Ikeda's _The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of
Intervetionism_, pp134-6 and the references therein.)
Blaming the free market for the failures of the welfare state here is
> Part of the reason it is so expensive is because socialist health
> systems externalize their highest costs onto our market, which drives up
> demand and therefore prices. How is this done? By purposely rationing
> expensive treatements such that the waiting lines for these treatments
> are longer than the life expectancy of the patients, so they instead
> come here to the US, pay out of their own pocket to get treated, and
> their buying that treatment here drives up the price here for our sick
> people to get the same treatment.
I think this isn't that big a factor. I think US government intervention in
healthcare and subsidies to it are the main culprit. Foreigners coming here
for treatments is, IMHO, just noise in terms of the costs.
> > Don't get me wrong. I am not saying the US medical system is crap. It
> > its uses -- its advantages and disadvantages... but that doesn't make it
> > better than other systems. In fact American medicine is becoming
> > to large parts of its own society thru its inability to attend to the
> > of the great numbers of poor.
> Because the health market is being distorted by the externalities of
> socialized medicine in other countries.
Try regulated medicine here. The US does not have a free market in
healthcare and it's certainly becoming less free each year.
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