How to End the Healthcare Debate – Forever
Rationing and policy didn’t give us the healthcare we have today, it will not provide us proper healthcare tomorrow.
an editorial by Tony Cartalucci
April 28, 2012 – In the modern political arena, we are provided a myriad of false choices from which to choose, while our supposedly elected representatives skillfully and purposefully obfuscate and maneuver around real, permanent solutions. This is because the vast majority of the power and influence today’s ruling elite enjoy across the Western world is derived precisely because of perpetual, seemingly unsolvable problems. In many cases, these “problems” are manufactured by the very people proposing solutions to solve them.
The fraudulent “War on Terror” is one such manufactured problem, perpetually both fueled and fought by the monied elite to keep their rackets, and the power, wealth, and influence derived from them going perpetually. The healthcare debate is another problem capable of being permanently solved, but allowed to purposefully drag on to maintain an entire industry built upon exploiting the desperation of the sick and injured.
An otherwise unsavory politician, US Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, who has introduced the Hitlerian CISPA bill and himself entirely disingenuous about solving the healthcare problem, did manage to accurately diagnose both the problem and the real solution facing America and how it treats its sick and injured. Rogers correctly states that the solution is innovation, private enterprise, and individuals. However, when Rogers says this, he means the very multinationals that drafted “Obamacare” in the first place and is simply peppering the false left-right paradigm to make it more palatable for an increasingly astute public.
Innovation to Increase Supply Beyond Demand
The basic principle behind supply and demand is that the more readily available any given good or service is, the lower the price to purchase it. There are different strategies that can be used to lower the price, but essentially it requires making a good or service cheaper to produce or perform and increasing its supply verses a particular level of demand.
In the case of meat, early human beings were subject to the natural populations of game animals. Like many other species, establishing and defending territory to hunt and gather in was a matter of life and death. Should a local human population’s demand increase beyond the natural population of game animals, people would either starve or be forced to expand their territory, risking conflict with neighboring tribes or large predators. The game changer was technology, and in this particular case, agriculture. Now more food could be produced in the same amount of territory, so much so that many members of the tribe could occupy themselves with activities other than hunting and gathering – there was a surplus.
Agriculture, however, is dependent on weather and climate, and in response to these variables, additional methods and technologies have been devised, including irrigation and greenhouses. Today, under normal circumstances, human beings fighting over food is unheard of – our mastery of agriculture has produced vast surpluses. People starve today because of greed, conflict, financial manipulation, and archaic distribution models – not an inability to produce enough food.
Access to information has perhaps exceeded even our ancient mastery of agriculture, and approaches what is known as “post-scarcity” or in other words it has become so abundant and easily accessible that it not only costs nothing to obtain, but the more in-demand it is, the easier it is to come by. It is predicted that computer-controlled manufacturing methods and sub-atomic material science will eventually translate this “information post-scarcity” to the physical world where digital bits are replaced by atoms.
So how then does this apply to healthcare and how exactly does it end the healthcare debate “forever?”
The solution, in the context of supply and demand, is very simple. Increase the number of people involved in both providing healthcare services as well as designing, developing, and manufacturing biomedical technology. America’s sabotaged education system would be the first place to start. Healthcare is currently expensive because of a limited number of qualified students that can study medicine, fewer who can afford to study it, and similar exclusivity in regards to enterprises developing modern medical technology.
Raising the overall competence of students increases the number of potential eligible medical students. This demand forces medical schools to expand their capacity and perhaps even developing new curriculum to allow such expansion to move vertically as well as horizontally. Smaller medical colleges and schools could be set up beyond main campuses, and as the pool of qualified medical practitioners and instructors increases, the price required for their services would drop – along with tuition.
Video: Dr. Jack Choi’s virtual dissection table is just one example of how technology makes it possible to teach the demanding study of medicine to a larger number of students when previous restrictions on resources would have made it impossible.
Additionally the curriculum itself must be continuously updated, covering not only the latest developments in medical research, but leveraging the latest developments in technology to effectively teach more students, faster and more efficiently. One example of this comes to us from a recent TED Talk featuring Dr. Jack Choi of Anatomage and his virtual dissection table – giving medical students without access to actual human bodies the chance to simulate real autopsies. Before the advent of such technology, medical students would either do without this valuable learning experience, thus restricting their education and preparedness when entering a practice.
Leveraging the ever-expanding library of university-level lectures available through “Open Course Ware” could be another way to disseminate the knowledge of the world’s best instructors to a greater number of willing students – even if only as a supplement to their regular studies. Already universities like MIT and Berkley provide an immense amount of lectures for free on both their own websites and on YouTube for anyone in the world to use.
When one walks into a modern intensive care unit, they will most likely notice a variety of advanced biomedical technology monitoring vital signs, administering medication, and assisting doctors and nurses in a large variety of tasks. This equipment is incredibly expensive, and is so precisely because only a handful of companies have a competent research and development team to develop this equipment and a qualified workforce to manufacture it.
Again, increasing the number of people qualified in the fields of design, development, and manufacturing, in any capacity will inevitably expand the number of entrepreneurs involved in biomedical technology, expanding supply and reducing costs. Again this leads us back to improving education to produce the human resources needed.
However, there is another factor that is incredibly important – and that is raising public awareness to just how far we’ve come and what the possibilities are that await us in the near future. Every great scientist, engineer, explorer, or doctor can cite who or what inspired them to take up their chosen trade. Inspiring people to become researchers, designers, doctors, and scientists is just as important as being able to train them to reach their full potential.
Additionally, being fully informed as to what the current state of medical research is, allows us to make more informed decisions regarding public funding and policy. Raising awareness for cutting edge research also builds enthusiasm throughout both the pubic, their representatives in government, and across industry, making available more support and funds for areas of interest we can all agree upon as being beneficial for society.
Bio-printing at Wake Forest
Imagine instead of spending the rest of your life on medication to correct imbalances caused by faulty, failing, or injured organs and instead having a replacement grown, even “printed” for you in the matter of weeks? Applied “regenerative medicine” was once solely in the realm of science fiction, but is now science reality, thanks to researchers at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM).