[ExI] Medical Costs

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Feb 19 06:44:11 UTC 2008

At 11:02 PM 2/18/2008 -0600, Tom wrote:

>What *does* seem broken under the current system is the extraordinary
>care that goes towards newborn infants, vs. mediocre care for many
>adults.  Any adult of at least middling intelligence is worth more
>than *any* infant, and it strikes me as insane that medical resources
>are poured towards the latter without any thought to cost.

As a first cut at this, I'd suggest a couple of big factors:

One is the increasing sentimentality regarding children, especially 
infants, in a technologically pampered and medically advanced society.

The other is the decreasing fecundity of parents in such a society, 
where (unlike the case 100 years ago) only a couple of kids are 
likely to be born to any woman able to make that choice, and those 
children are almost certain to survive to adulthood, rather than many 
of them perishing in infancy. Each child in a family is now 
especially, unprecedentedly, precious.


<Prior to 1900, infant mortality rates of two and three hundred 
obtained throughout the world. The infant mortality rate would 
fluctuate sharply according to the weather, the harvest, war, and 
epidemic disease. In severe times, a majority of infants would die 
within one year. In good times, perhaps two hundred per thousand 
would die. So great was the pre-modern loss of children's lives that 
anthropologists claim to have found groups that do not name children 
until they have survived a year.>

Damien Broderick 

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