The Dying Game

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About Carl Pettit

Carl Pettit is a writer, illustrator and musician whose education and travels have taken him all over the world. When not out exploring, or pondering the universe, he finds time to produce fiction for both adults and children. You can catch up with him on his blog, or twitter.


  1. Blindness! Profit has driven every innovation in medicine was have!!!
    Profit and Healing are co-hostiles. They are the epitome of team-work!

    I guarantee you this: Injure the profit and you’ll STOP the innovation dead in its tracks!

    Stop the profit, and you’ll shutter countless hospitals.

    Without the motivations of profit you’d not have that keyboard in front of you.

    • ***Profit and Healing are NOT co-hostiles.***
      ***Profit has driven every innovation in medicine WE have!!!***

      Sorry…blind with migraine

    • Here’s the thing: Technology (keyboards) is a luxury. Healthcare shouldn’t be.

      Besides, innovation isn’t necessarily profitable. In healthcare, one can assume that the goal of innovation is to cure the disease. But it’s not really profitable to cure a disease, now, is it? It effectively cuts off a whole revenue stream – the money paid by people to treat the disease (short of a cure). Not just on doctor’s visits, but pharmaceuticals too.

      Cynical Me says that healthcare & pharma companies are innovating all right – they’re innovating new ways to make money off the sick – not to free them of their afflictions, or make care more accessible.

    • I have very mixed feelings on this post. A few points:

      – Even pre-Obamacare, it was illegal for emergency rooms in the U.S. to turn away people in need of life-saving medical treatment.
      - Profit does not drive all medical innovation. Jonas Salk refused to patent the polio vaccine because he wanted to help people. He said it would be like trying to patent the sun.
      - I voted for Obama twice, but I also find it ironic that the U.S. is getting relatively universal health care – what we’ve always been told is the chief way we’re lagging behind the rest of the industrialized world – right when much of the rest of the industrialized world is starting to get crushed by mountains of public-sector debt.
      - Obamacare also sometimes seems like a trick to get healthy younger uninsured people into the risk pool and drive costs down so we can keep giving seniors 50 kajillion pills a dau.
      - I still give Obama credit for working on reform. The U.S. healthcare system seems almost tailor-made to ensure ballooning costs, particularly due to unnecessary tests and marginally-useful procedures being covered by insurance.

      I don’t have all the answers on this. Anyone who says they do is suspect. Human needs are relatively finite. Human want is limitless. A lot of medical care in the U.S. falls somewhere between the two.

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    I understand a medical device company has laid off, iirc, 1100 workers due to assuming reduced sales on account of the new and exciting medical device tax.
    This will also reduce research on new devices.
    Somehow, somebody thought this was a good idea.
    I don’t know about the market and ruthlessness. One of the advertising department’s woes is lousy performance. Hard to get past that, once it gets public. OTOH, a governmnent bureaucrat trying to impress his bosses with cost savings is immune from any negative feedback. Where else are they going to go? Shrug. Lots of great stories from the UK.

  3. I’ve been entertaining this notion a lot lately too – that hospitals shouldn’t be run as businesses, and that the universal healthcare systems in places like the UK may not be perfect, but are still better for the greater good of the populace than strictly private systems. And THANK YOU for pointing out that a public healthcare system does not mean the elimination of private options too. If anything, I’d think it would force the private sector to make the necessary changes to be able to compete with the public system.

    (That said, I’ll note that I have a very limited understanding of economics in general, never mind the economics of healthcare, so I’m no expert. These are just my casual musings from the morning commute.)

    Maybe I’m just cynical but I don’t trust the private sector to look out for anyone’s needs but their own. Profit may be a great motivator for innovation, as Rob points out above, but it also prompts people to make not-so-nice decisions if there’s nothing to gain. A profit-based model is pretty much built to be self-serving, not others-helping. Frankly, if I had to choose, I’d rather see an increase in access to healthcare for people who need it while innovation slows a bit. After all, innovation creates new technologies, and those technologies are inevitably expensive, so creating innovations in the name of profit still isn’t helping the Little Guy that much.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    KKZ. New technologies aren’t invariably more expensive. What you mean is that, if we use a new technology instead of letting somebody die, the cumulative costs are higher. True. In addition, new technologies can be cheaper than old ones for a given issue. See any railroad tracks on knees these days?
    Keep in mind that a profit-driven enterprise can’t work unless it pleases the customer, either the current ones or the prospective ones. See Adam Smith.
    Government is immune from such mundane considerations. I know, there are elections, but as a friend of mine who works for the state said, the legislators come and go and we just keep doing what we do.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Just for grins, check out UK NHS pap smear. See their suggested first time and intervals and compare it to ours.
    You’ll note some suggestions that mammograms aren’t necessary as often as we thought, and ditto PSA. This is known, in military parlance, as “preparing the battle space”. Tests cost money. Of course, they mean some things aren’t caught until too late, but see the treatment max for whatever that may be. Savings all around.

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