An Uber Style of Medical Care for the US?

The Tech Revolution is Sweeping Over Much of US Society — Why Not Health Care?

Health care-market distortions have considerably worsened since Kenneth Arrow famously described them in 1963; but in other industries less dominated by misguided government intervention, similar distortions have gradually eroded, thanks to technology, especially the rise of the Internet.

The tech world is full of stories of individuals who dropped out of college to design software and hardware that changed the world; but such innovation is far less common in health care—for reasons largely determined by public policy.

Each current barrier to a more innovative, competitive, affordable health care system was created for a reason; but the cumulative weight of these policies has been to make U.S. health care less innovative, less patient-centered, and less affordable. __

Technology Can Make US Medicine both Affordable and Reliable — With the Need for Only A Few Beheadings Along the Way

Why No Uber for US Medical System?

Ask anyone why health costs are so high, and one of the answers is likely to be “technology.” But why does technology add costs in health care when it lowers costs everywhere else?
‘Why isn’t there an Uber of health care?”


Health care — like all distinct sectors of society — has its own characteristics in the marketplace. But the main reasons medical care in the US is so expensive and defensive, all trace back to government policies eventually.


The reason that health care increasingly lags the rest of the information economy is not because health care is fundamentally different. It is because decades of unwise government policy have made it almost impossible for consumers and innovators to succeed. __ HEALTH CARE 2.0

In the first in a series of “Health Care 2.0” reports, the Manhattan Institute looks at some of the economic reasons why health care in the US has not been allowed by governments and special interest groups to respond to the basic laws of the marketplace. For example:

Download the first installment of Health Care 2.0 (PDF)

Is a Massive Overhaul of the Most Technologically Advanced Medical System in the World Really Needed?

Read the report linked above, and begin to decide for yourself. Future installments of the Manhattan Institute’s Health Care 2.0 are likely to expand the view field of the problem to include several other components that need to be addressed. To make health care in the US more affordable, accessible, and of higher quality, several areas of society will need to be knocked on their arse.

In the beginning, a massive overhaul of the US medical system is not needed — it is only necessary to remove the artificial constraints built around the health care system by government and other components of US society to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Competition, Torts, Excessive Regulation, Failure to Explain Risks and Responsibilities

In the end, each person must live his own life and die his own death. No amount of gold-plated insurance or galactic-aged technology can take away the risks and responsibilities for his own life, from each human being. No matter what governments, legal systems, insurance systems, or health care provider systems may tell you, we will all live less than perfect lives, experience loss and suffering, and eventually die.

The Tort Tax

Back in 2007, before the devastating Obama years, the tort tax was already making itself felt on the US economy:

America’s tort system imposes a total cost on the U.S. economy of $865 billion per year.
This constitutes an annual “tort tax” of $9,827 on a family of four.

It is equivalent to the total annual output of all six New England states or the yearly sales of the entire U.S. restaurant industry.

How does the legal system extract such an astounding amount from our economy?

The static costs of litigation — including annual damage awards, plaintiff attorneys’ fees, defense costs, administrative costs and deadweight costs from torts such as product liability cases, medical malpractice litigation and class action lawsuits – totals about $328 billion annually.

The dynamic costs of litigation — the impact on research and development spending, the costs of defensive medicine and the related rise in health-care spending and reduced access to health care, and the loss of output from deaths due to excess liability — totals about $537 billion annually.

It is much worse now. And it has a terrible impact on the affordability and accessibility of US health care.


One small impact of out-of-control-torts on health care accessibility: The exorbitant costs of malpractise insurance makes it virtually impossible for retired and semi-retired physicians and nurses to staff affordable part-time community clinics in thousands of communities around the country — even though such clinics would provide a useful service. Other impacts of the monster-tort system are more subtle, but also more outrageous.

Lack of Competition

Legions of restrictive laws and regulations prevent qualified persons from providing a large number of services and health care goods and equipment. This drives up the costs of all services, equipment, and goods related to health care. From credentialing, to the drug approval process, to pharmaceutical and medical laboratory regulations and more, regulatory overkill makes health care more expensive and less accessible.

This discussion is barely getting started.

Disruptive Technology Will Make Entire Branches of Medicine Obsolete

Most readers will be unaware of the massive disruptions in the field of Pediatrics that were caused by the development of safe, reliable vaccines, combined with safe and effective antibiotics. If you were not there to see it, you might not have believed it.

Similar — and even greater — disruptions will take place across broad swathes of medicine, even if corrupt lawyers, politicians, insurers, health care lobbyists, administrators, and providers make no changes of their own volition.

Above: An overview of a few disruptive trends for 2016

Here is an example of a potential disruptive technology in just one area of medicine.

But that is nothing compared with the potential of advanced probiotics to cure obesity, anxiety and depression, disabling inflammatory diseases of several types, allergies, and Alzheimer’s.

In fact, the entire field of dietary and nutritional supplements is likely to play a huge part in the radical transformation of health care in the US. The section below is just the briefest of introductions. Much more on supplements will follow in future postings.

A Brief Note on Supplements

You Will Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy . . .

The commercial world of supplements is a den of liars, thieves, imbeciles, and all-around con artists. But the scientific, biomedical, and rational intellectual world of supplements provides an incredible intellectual puzzle to challenge almost any inquisitive mind. The potential for positive disruptive change is immense.

Common Reasons for Supplement Use

Prevention of Diseases — Health Promotion

Helping to Manage Diseases (One interesting example for managing diabetes)

Weight Loss

Muscle Mass and Sports Performance

Mild Energy, Relaxation, and Sleep Aides


Longevity Promotion

Nootropics and study aides constitute a rapidly growing area of self-medication. Students, young executives, creative workers, and others who wish to tweak their own brain performance can find some of the things they want at online sites like this. (an example, not an endorsement)

It should be easy to see why the scientists, engineers, theoreticians, and others at the Al Fin Institutes would support an increase in self-efficacy in one’s own medical care — just as in any other aspect of a person’s life.

Each of us has final responsibility for what we choose to ingest, but it would be better if we took advantage of a full range of information sources.


Long list of supplements — both conventional and unconventional — with extensive background information and scientific sources.

More Basic and Mainstream:

Links to Government Information Sources on Supplements

Desktop chemical synthesisers, bio-hack labs, and chemical 3D printers will make it easier to supply one’s household with homebrew supplements of incredible sophistication, efficacy, and potency. Government bureaucracies are likely to fall like dying flies in the face of coming technological disruptions.

But technology without a wise, experienced, knowledgeable, and creatively savvy guiding hand can be worse than no technology at all. And since the technology is coming, one might best set about now to learn what he must to ride this suddenly looming set of swelling waves.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.


Perverse incentives ruin healthcare

Time to get back to basics and tell the bureaucrats to go to hell?

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