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My Belly and Me

So, yeah, the last few days have been somewhat eventful. My gallbladder attacked me and I had to have a laparoscopic cholecystectomy to get it out. I’m home now, under 24 hours after the procedure, recovering nicely and perusing the last few days of Google Reader to see how stupid the Left has been while I was out (answer: very).

Just one thought I’d like to share:

And the more I think about it, the more I am amazed with modern medicine. A couple of centuries ago, my gallbladder would probably have led me to an agonizing death. A couple of decade ago, I would have had open surgery and spent weeks recovering. Now, four cuts and a day later, I’m home and should be recovered within a week or two.

When people ask me why I oppose socialized medicine, this is the reason. Medical science has advanced with incredible rapidity over the last few decades. And the century ahead is going to be filled with challenges, most notably the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I do think we can get the same innovation for less money. But I fear the heavy hand of government will retard if not end the kind of innovation that got my gallbladder out with comparatively little fuss.

Bastiat talked about what is seen and what is unseen. In the future, we may see a healthcare system that is “free” and treats us all equally. But what is unseen will be the new techniques and drugs that could have made our lives safer and healthier.

11 comments

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  1. hist_ed says:

    Holy shit yeah. Back before I was banned from arguing with my father in law (in fact this was the argument that my then very pregnant wife said was the last straw), we had a little go ’round about medical costs and such. He objected to “obscene” profits by pharma companise, but wouldn’t define “obscene” nor say who gets to make that call. I argued that while medical costs were a problem, part of the rise is costs is because we are getting more and better medicine. After dodging the spittling from his raging gurgling, I posited a deal we could offer to anyone who didn’t like how much things cost. Pick a year. You can have medical care for the average cost of that year, but you don’t get any invention, drug or procedure invented after that year. Hey, 1960s medical care was pretty cheap, but imagine the list you would have to cross off if you went back to their standard of care.

    The big problem with the US getting all socialized, is that this country has been the engine of medical innovation for the last 30 years or so. While a few breakthroughs have happened elsewhere, mostly the world has been riding on our backs (and in the case of drugs, our free markets massively subsidize their price controls). Screw our medical companies out of their profits and you’ll slow down new stuff for everyone.

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  2. Hal_10000 says:

    Innovation has also democratized care. The standard of care most people get today would only have been available to the rich a generation ago. And under a socialized system, the elites will certainly get better care than the rest of us.

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  3. Seattle Outcast says:

    Every now and then I get a conversation started with “how many people here would now be dead if it weren’t for modern medicine?” – about 90% generally raise their hand once they start getting into childhood diseases, infections, etc.

    Personally, scarlet fever would have done me in when I was 5 if it wasn’t for antibiotics. But just the list of surgeries I’ve had and medications I’ve taken that now treat problems that even 30 years ago were either “untreatable” or horribly invasive.

    Chronic conditions now are frequently treated with a pill every day – I mean, who worries any more about hypertension, gout, or high cholesterol? Hell, for some people AIDS is just a chronic condition that requires a handful of pills every day.

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  4. bgeek says:

    Glad you’re better.

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  5. Mississippi Yankee says:

    Hope you recover quickly.
    Thank Dog that CM also recovered from his sex change, just in time, and was able to fill in due to your absence.

    Were the doctors able to determine why your gall bladder quit functioning?

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  6. CM says:

    Thank Dog that CM also recovered from his sex change, just in time, and was able to fill in due to your absence.

    ;-)

    All the best for your recovery Hal. Glad it all went as well as it could.

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  7. CM says:

    I remember a discussion on Moorewatch a few years back about medical advances, and after some basic research I was surprised at how many advances come via public funding.

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  8. Seattle Outcast says:

    And how many is that compared to what EVIL BIG PHARMA produces? Not that many – you also have to remember that “public funding” includes college research projects, and that when tax dollars are freely tossed around, private funding rapidly decreases.

    Seriously, considering the track record government has betting on winners (snort, laugh), you might want to consider that good old-fashioned profit motive generally produces better results, and all that “public funding” is a gigantic waste of money.

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  9. Hal_10000 says:

    I remember a discussion on Moorewatch a few years back about medical advances, and after some basic research I was surprised at how many advances come via public funding.

    Basic research, yes. But bringing a product to market, with all the testing and detail that entails, is something you need business for.

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  10. CM says:

    Basic research, yes. But bringing a product to market, with all the testing and detail that entails, is something you need business for.

    No question.

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  11. InsipiD says:

    Glad to hear that you’re recovering well. Nice to see that CM is trying to thank the world’s governments for your recovery, as usual.

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