Modern Healthcare - - OPINIONS EDITORIALS -

“Two things have struck me about the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date de­bates lead­ing up to the Iowa cau­cuses. One is how en­ter­tain­ing they were. The other is how dis­con­nected they were from the big­gest trends shap­ing the job mar­ket of the 21st cen­tury. What if the 2012 cam­paign were ac­tu­ally about the world in which we’re liv­ing and how we adapt to it? What would the can­di­dates be talk­ing about? Surely at or near the top of that list would be the tight­en­ing merger be­tween glob­al­iza­tion and the lat­est in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy rev­o­lu­tion. … When eight doc­tors from around the world can look at the same MRI in real time … it en­ables the ac­cel­er­a­tion of small break­throughs, which is where big break­throughs even­tu­ally come from. Big band­width … would en­able these same doc­tors do­ing high-risk surgery to prac­tice the life-sav­ing pro­ce­dures in ad­vance over net­work-en­abled sim­u­la­tors, lead­ing to bet­ter re­sults, new kinds of sur­gi­cal in­no­va­tions and new forms of med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.”

“What if the 2012 cam­paign were ac­tu­ally about the world in which we’re liv­ing and how we adapt to it?”

—Thomas Fried­man in the New York Times “But here are two pre­dic­tions that cer­tainly will be ful­filled: The Amer­i­can peo­ple will con­tinue to need a lot of med­i­cal care, and that care will get even more ex­pen­sive than it al­ready is. And here is an­other pre­dic­tion—one that may not come true in 2012 but is likely to pan out within a few years: Govern­ment-funded Medi­care is go­ing to go broke. Medi­care’s costs—in­clud­ing its pre­scrip­tion drug ben­e­fit, whose price sky­rock­eted af­ter much-too-low cost es­ti­mates were used to get it passed by Congress—are break­ing the bank. Es­ti­mates of just when, not if, Medi­care will go broke range from later this decade to early next decade. … Yet de­spite the clear ev­i­dence that a Medi­care cost calamity is on the way, vir­tu­ally any se­ri­ous at­tempt by Congress to re­form the pro­gram is quickly shot down and crit­i­cized as a threat to se­nior cit­i­zens. And so, we re­main on a path to Medi­care in­sol­vency. If we’d like to take a de­tour off that path, we might want to do so soon. The Medi­care time bomb is tick­ing.”

Chat­tanooga (Tenn.) Times/free Press

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