Must-Read: Dean Kamen Interview – Holder of 100s of Medical Patents

This August 6 interview of Dean Kamen in Popular Mechanics is a must-read. Kamen is frank, critical, and has first-hand experience inventing health care technologies. Kamen is:

head of the Manchester, New Hampshire, firm Deka Research [and] is one of today’s most celebrated inventors, holding over 440 patents, primarily in the medical field.

When I started pulling Kamen’s best lines, I realized I was almost grabbing his responses paragraph by paragraph. So, after painful deliberation, I have selected his best three insights for your reading pleasure. But please read the entire interview – his perspective is valuable and he is straightforward about the situation as he sees it.

On rationing:

Each side of this debate has created the boogieman and monsters, like “We don’t want let this program to come into existence because that will mean rationing.” Well, I hate to tell you the news but as soon as medicine started being able to do incredible things that are very expensive, we started rationing. The reason 100 years ago everyone could afford their healthcare is because healthcare was a doctor giving you some elixir and telling you you’ll be fine.


On future health care technologies – or the lack thereof:


We now live in a world where technology has triumphed, in many ways, over death. The problem with that is that it’s enormously expensive. And big pharmaceutical giants and big medical products companies have stopped working on stuff that could be extraordinary because they know they won’t be reimbursed, according to the common standards. We’re not only rationing today; we’re rationing our future.

On health care costs:

We spent in all branches of all our pharmaceutical suppliers, $260 billion. That’s certainly way up from what it was in the early days of the world, but we also spent way more money on computers and other things that didn’t exist back then, either, and we don’t claim we have a computer crisis. We spent more money on our iPhones last year than we did ten years ago cause there were no iPhones.

 Hat Tip goes to Samizdata, which is a worthy addition to every blogroll.

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