Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The increasing costs of medical care

Last night I attended a forum on legislative proposals for state health care reform in Oregon. The meeting room at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library was filled. An informative presentation on current legislative activities was presented by a panel. Dr Cliff Hall, who presided over the meeting, noted that the cost problems in today’s medical system are rooted in three factors:

1. Imbalance between primary care doctors and specialists. He noted that only one third of American doctors deliver primary care while two thirds are specialists, and suggested that it would be better if these proportions were reversed.

2. Development of expensive new technologies.

3. The escalation of extreme and perhaps dubious medical treatments at the end of life, so that a significant portion of lifetime medical expenses come in the last few months.

There were a number of very thoughtful questions and comments from the audience and we all went away with much to think about.

Regarding Dr. Hall’s second point, I have long wondered if governmental funds should not be tilted more towards research aimed at making existing treatments and technologies less expensive rather than towards the development of new treatments and technologies.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are e-mailed to me. I will post excerpts from those I think will most interest readers.