- Costs are rising. For patients, insurance premiums are rising. Those denied coverage or lacking sufficiently comprehensive coverage for an illness may find themselves bankrupted and unemployed because they got sick.
- An industry is growing and hiring. For employees in the healthcare professions, a growing industry creates good jobs for doctors, nurses, insurers, researchers, benefits administrators and others. Our systemic inefficiencies serve as a form of economic stimulus.
On the other hand, as a nation increases its standard of living, what else should people spend money on? Shouldn't we all want to spend money on staying healthy rather than acquiring more possessions than we have any use for?
The fact that health costs, profits and jobs are increasing is not itself the problem. That so many people are unable to get medical attention anywhere other than at an emergency room is a problem. Receiving unnecessary tests and treatment is a problem. Overpaying for the quality of care delivered is a problem. Running unsustainable government and family debt is a problem.
To all of the problems, personalized medicine offers part of a solution: getting the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time.
Special thanks to Matt Cooper (@Matt_T_Cooper) for the inspiration for this post.
Three Paths to Personalized Medicine
Unintended Consequences of Medical Innovation
Perfect Pills: Big Pharma in Crisis