[ExI] "Controlling the cost of health care" an immoral idea?

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sat Apr 28 01:27:41 UTC 2012

On 28/04/2012 01:06, Brent Allsop wrote:
> If we want to the average life span to continue on it's exponentially 
> growing trajectory, we, as a society, need to be ready to pay the 
> exponentially growing cost of funding such.  There is an exponentially 
> growing number of things physicians can do to help us live longer, and 
> even though the costs of all such are dropping, dramatically, none of 
> it is going to be free, especially the initial development of all such.

Well, the real question is how much health per dollar you can get. All 
increases in cost are not due to better options. And given the health 
disparities between the US and Europe despite the higher US costs of 
care, it is pretty safe to say that you have plenty of room for 
efficiency improvement. However, health care systems seem to be 
excellent at locking themselves into local optima with strong incumbents 
and big costs of switching to other systems, so fixing issues like that 
might be hard.

As a card-carrying crazy libertarian I am fine with the existence of 
very expensive health care options, even when few can afford them. 
Technology will often lower their prices over time, their development 
paid for by rich early adopters. But it would be stupid for any 
consumer, whether individual or a group, not to try to find an optimal 
balance between health and cost. We might have different setpoints 
(another reason for aiming for a more individualistic system), but few 
if any would pay *all* their disposable income for a bit of extra health.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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