Don't Expect Science to Save You From Negligence

I think that an important point is illustrated in a recent study on the relative cost and effectiveness of a good lifestyle versus drugs on age-related diabetes.

Compared with the placebo intervention, the lifestyle and metformin interventions were estimated to delay the development of type 2 diabetes by 11 and 3 years, respectively, and to reduce the absolute incidence of diabetes by 20% and 8%, respectively. The cumulative incidence of microvascular, neuropathic, and cardiovascular complications were reduced and survival was improved by 0.5 and 0.2 years. Compared with the placebo intervention, the cost per [quality-adjusted life-year (QALY)] was approximately $1100 for the lifestyle intervention and $31,300 for the metformin intervention. From a societal perspective, the interventions cost approximately $8800 and $29,900 per QALY, respectively. From both perspectives, the lifestyle intervention dominated the metformin intervention.

In other words, if you're not taking good care of yourself now, don't expect your future medical bills to be low. Even though the cost of medicine of a given effectiveness should decline with time - due to competition in the markeplace, increasing research into efficiency and effectiveness, improval of existing methodologies, and so forth - this trend could quite easily be offset by encroaching socialism in medicine.

Besides paying some of the highest prices for health care, we have the dubious distinction of having the most heavily regulated healthcare system in the world. In no other country on earth are doctors and hospitals subjected to as many oversight and enforcement agencies, bureaus and commissions. Rules, regulations, and laws are duplicated, redundant, multiplied, magnified, and contradictory. Laws and regulations covering doctors and hospitals plus all the other parts of our healthcare system now account for over half of all the words, sentences, and paragraphs in our entire body of law.

If regulations could make a healthcare system work better, ours would surely be perfect. In fact, the opposite has occurred. Even those who believe that only government regulation can assure quality health care should face this fact. More laws and regulations are not going to fix our system. If we are truly concerned about the high cost of health care, if we really desire greater safety and higher quality, then we must undertake a dispassionate analysis of the current mess. If we wish to begin effective treatment of our healthcare system, we must first make an accurate diagnosis.

The other main consequence of medical socialism (and other protectionist, centralization or entitlement programs) is that it may just be that the whole system will collapse in some way before you get to the point of needing expensive medicine - you'll think a lot more rationally about future costs in healthcare incurred today if you assume it likely you'll be paying in full.

You should not expect insurance or governments to pay for real anti-aging treatments when they become available. They might do it, or they might not. There are several proposed future scenarios under which the medical insurance industry and government programs are bankrupted or forced into reform by extended healthy life spans. "Forced into reform" is a polite euphemism for "we are not paying for your treatment." The power of compound interest allows you to accumulate a great deal of money before you will need to spend it on retirement and future medical technologies - so make best use of your time and save wisely.

The future is uncertain; you shouldn't count on advances in serious anti-aging medicine arriving in time to make your later life easier, healthier and longer. So look after your health, and raise your voice in support of serious anti-aging research and more effective medicine.

Comments

I have never for a moment assumed that insurance, government, or any other artifact of the medical industrial complex would cover my anti-aging treatments. I know that I will have to pay for this myself, just like cryonics, if I should need that.

I also believe that cryonics should be actively supported because there is no guarantee that SENS or other anti-aging treatments will become available in the next 30 years, although it is likely. Cryonics is an essential backup plan and one that should be vigorously supported.

Even with universal rejuvenation, there will still be things that can kill you and cryonics will still be necessary as backup option.

Developing effective neuropreservation via vitrification is something that can be developed for a few million dollars of research money. Effective neuropreservation will ensure your access to the future.

Posted by: Kurt at March 1st, 2005 12:09 PM

Of course the cryonics should be actively supported because there is no guarantee that SENS or other anti-aging treatments will become available in the next 30 years, although it is likely.

Posted by: Susan R at January 18th, 2006 2:13 AM

Kurt is right: Even with universal rejuvenation, there will still be things that can kill you and cryonics will still be necessary as backup option. Till we’ll find a better solution, we need to take advantage of the one we still have!

Posted by: California Drug Rehab at April 29th, 2008 6:36 AM

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