Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Chris Rock paradox

The good folks at the Private Sector Development Blog have an interesting link to Michael Porter's new book on healthcare competion.
The money quote:

Healthcare is not like buying a car. If you want leather seats in a car, this costs more because leather costs more than plastic. If you want a TV set with a bigger screen and more features, that is more expensive; it takes more circuits, more material, and so on. Healthcare is very different, especially today when we already treat virtually every medical condition in some way. Most of the time, the best quality healthcare is also the lowest cost care. The reason is that the lowest costs arise when the patient stays healthy, or gets healthy faster.

Of course, this assumption does lead to what we might call the Chris Rock paradox. Mr. Rock accutely observed that the money wasn't in the cure. The money (at least for big pharma) is in the disease:
So what they will do with AlDS is the same thing they do with everything else. They will figure out a way for you to live with it.

They don't cure shit, they just patch it up. Get you to the next stop, so they can get more of your money.

They ain't gonna cure it.

Hopefully, in our lifetime, you're gonna see somebody go:
'Yo, man, you weren't at work yesterday. What's up?'

'My AlDS is acting up. You know, when the weather get like this, my AlDS just pop up.'

So is Porter actually a big supporter of "socialized" medicine? That lead sentance, combined with what he knows to be true about the profit maximizing private sector would point towards "yes". Guess I'll have to read the book to find out.


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