The Best Way to Cut Healthcare Costs

Last week Popular Mechanics published a fascinating interview with Dean Kamen.  While most people associate Kamen with the (frankly odd) Segway, most of his inventions are in the medical device field.  He makes the very good point that, when healthcare costs are viewed over time, it becomes apparent that the route to cheaper and more productive care is through innovation.   High costs today are, in part, investments in less expensive treatments down the road.  In the current parlance, our existing system already “bends the curve” for a given illness.  His analysis certainly doesn’t resolve the debate, but is worthwhile perspective and very worthwhile reading.

One Response to “The Best Way to Cut Healthcare Costs”

  1. panopticonopolis Says:


    The Kamen interview seems like a strange deployment of the “tech fix” argument. One of the reasons why healthcare is so expensive in this country is that we are the first adopters of new technology, and, more importantly, that actors in the system are incentivized to call on those procedures and drugs independently of their necessity or outcomes.

    The difference is not about scarcity, but rather the way the market is structured. In a Kamenian world, our outcomes would be better than anyone else’s, since we have invested the most in technology, but they’re not, so something else must be at work.

    As for technology, I like telling people that the best way to fight climate change is to build 10,000 nuclear reactors and spend the next 30 years developing a space elevator to shoot all that toxic waste into space. Now that would be a proper tech fix.

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