Healthcare Spending Catastrophe
It seems to me that we should expect a society to spend more on healthcare as it grows more affluent. At one end of the spectrum there is the primitive hunter-gatherer who neither has the medical knowledge to treat injuries or infections nor the expendable wealth to administer it were it available. As we move up the scale we have developing countries who have either developed or imported medical knowledge and technology. In such a country there may be sufficient wealth to pay for antibiotics for some and chemotherapy for others, but by no means is there sufficient wealth to treat the ailments of all. When there is a trade off between treating cancer in its early stages and eating, eating always wins. This is the central issue that must be kept in mind when thinking about healthcare spending; prices do not exist for the sole purpose of enriching healthcare administrators but rather - as they do for any other product - to communicate preferences. As medical skill and technology continue to expand and as our wealth increases, our propensity to spend that wealth on healthcare approaches infinity. After all, who doesn't want to live forever? The problem comes, as you might expect, when those who wish to govern our lives attempt to collectivize risks and preferences while ensuring that everyone can have everything they want at an "affordable" price. For any society, as for any individual, operating within a delusion can be quite dangerous.