Ilovebenefits’s Blog

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Will ObamaCare threaten medical innovation?

Editor’s note: Another thought provoking perspective on Obamacare.


The normal critique of socialized medicine is to point out that people have to wait a long time for these kinds of treatments in places like Britain. And that’s certainly a valid critique. I’m sure my mom and daughter would still be waiting for their treatments, while my father and wife would probably be dead.

The key point, though, is that these treatments didn’t just come out out of the blue. They were developed by drug companies and device makers who thought they had a good market for things that would make people feel better.

But under a national healthcare plan, the “market” will consist of whatever the bureaucrats are willing to buy. That means treatment for politically stylish diseases will get some money, but otherwise the main concern will be cost-control. More treatments, to bureaucrats, mean more costs.

It doesn’t always work that way, of course. The rise of proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec has made ulcer surgery a thing of the past. But to the bureaucratic mindset, those pills are a cost, and ulcer-surgery expenses can be dealt with by rationing. Let ‘em eat Maalox while they wait.

I exaggerate, but . . . well, maybe I don’t. The truth is, despite the great promise of new medical technology out there now, in terms of new cancer treatments, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and more, the potential marvels of the next twenty years will never be developed unless some developer thinks there’s a market.

This will mean a great loss not just for the US but also for the rest of the world.  Our medical research produces innovations like no other nation can, and without it, we will freeze the art of medicine in place at 2009.


July 12, 2009 - Posted by | Cost, Federal Government, healthcare | , , , ,

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