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The Cure in the Code by Peter Huber

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14

THE RISING COST OF HELPLESS CARE

THE REVOLUTION IN molecular medicine is still young, and many now see it as just one more thing to blame for the relentlessly rising cost of health care. The “major contributor” to rapidly rising health care costs is “the constant introduction of new medical technologies, including new drugs, devices, and procedures,” says Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, President Obama’s former health care advisor. When dressed up in econometric analyses, such views bring to mind the great but irascible physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who dismissed a paper he had been sent to review as not even good enough to be wrong.

To begin with, “health care” is too elastic a term to have a measurable cost. Paymasters don’t agree on what “care” that ...

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