Sustainable Medicine

There is hardly a developed country where health care reform has not become a kind of chronic disease of modern medicine: as soon as some reforms are implemented, a call comes for yet another round. Costs continue to climb, but nothing seems to contain their growth for very long.

Why? Politics surely plays a role. But a more fundamental reason is the nature of modern medicine itself. Most developed countries have a growing number and proportion of elderly. Since health care costs for those over 65 are approximately four times higher than for those under 65, aging societies place massive claims on medical resources.

This is compounded by the constant introduction of new (and usually more expensive) technologies, together with increased demand for high-quality health care. We want more, expect more, and complain more loudly if we don't get it. When we do get it, we quickly raise the bar, wanting still more.

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