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Commentary

The Nation: Venture Medicine: Health Care Costs Are a Killer, but Maybe That's a Plus
Steve Lohr, The New York Times, 9-26-04

America is spending more on health care, and will continue to do so, even if all the waste and mismanagement is squeezed out of the system, because "modern medical technology has made it possible to do more for more people." America is the wealthiest nation in the world, and Americans have shown themselves more than willing to foot the bill for the latest technological improvements, including more new drugs, diagnostics, and more hip and knee replacement surgeries for America's affluent senior citizens. Mr. Lohr quotes a study from Frank Lichtenberg, a Columbia University researcher, showing that "40 percent of the increased longevity in 52 countries over the last 20 years can be attributed to new drugs." In general, who would quibble with better health and longer lives? After all, "having longer, higher quality lives is a luxury that we as a society can increasingly afford." Lichtenberg added, "What would you rather be spending it on? More plasma TVs?"


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