The “Financial Armageddon” of Health Care

In our health care policy class, we’ve been learning a lot about the skyrocketing cost of health care and the “financial armageddon” we’re all headed towards if we don’t control the amount we spend on it.

What’s driving this gloomy forecast? It’s not because of the rising rates of chronic illness like obesity. It’s not because of an increasing number of people aging. And it’s not because of profit-seeking insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Ironically, what’s sending our health care spending out of control are medical advances.

Yes, the very thing that’s supposed to improve our quality of life is also ruining our health care system and eventually our entire economy. Medical advances, new technology and cutting-edge research have dramatically widened the horizons of medical care today. At the same time, however, they have also triggered an increase in utilization, tests and diagnosis that account for a huge chunk of unsustainable, health care spending.

I am torn because the policy side of me wants to cut cost and save our health care system, but the physician side of me knows that when faced with my own patients and loved ones, I will want the best care I can get for them. It will be harder for me to consider the economic ramifications of using medical technology when my own mother requires medical care.

As our health care policy class ends tomorrow, we are left with a picture of a very complex problem before us, but at the very least our awareness of these issues may make us more socially responsible physicians in the future.

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Comments
2 Responses to “The “Financial Armageddon” of Health Care”
  1. charlesch says:

    Each time when i watched Grey’s anatomy or House, my mind couldn’t help but start guessing the cost of medical equipment, which is possibly ginormous. Could i drop in the class btw? It sounds like a good one.

  2. erick suen says:

    As I read your article about “healthcare” issues I am wondering that what happens in Taiwan for the last 15 years can be of any help. Since 1996 we have national health insurance installed and implemented here. It has been semi-successful so far. And we had just revised the law to continue support the sustainable system. I agree that “medical advance” maybe a factor in this game however, I believe the “proper control and efficient use of healthcare delivery system” is also worth paying attention to. What do you think?

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