September 29, 2006

Longer Life or More Stuff

An opinion piece from the NYT on the largest myth in healthcare today:

“We must all do more to cut costs,” G.M.’s chief executive, Rick Wagoner, said on Capitol Hill this summer while testifying about health care. Mr. Wagoner’s argument has become the accepted wisdom about the crisis: the solution lies in restraining costs. Yet it’s wrong...

David Leonhardt points out that the reason healthcare is so expensive is that we are keeping people alive longer, and keeping people alive longer - well - it turns out that costs money.

And maybe that is okay. Why is it so bad to spend money on our health? Would we rather buy more stuff?

It’s easy to be against high costs, and it will no doubt be hard to come up with a broad health care solution. But the way to start is by acknowledging that an affluent society should devote an ever-growing share of its resources to the health of its citizens. “We have enough of the basics in life,” Mr. Cutler, the economist and author, points out. “What we really want are the time and the quality of life to enjoy them.”

This is what Heidi has been telling me for years. After reading the article, she asked, "why did it take so long for somebody to figure it out?"

Posted by David at September 29, 2006 06:38 PM
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