Friday, February 29, 2008

Inflation, Health Care Reform, and Translational Research

"It's Health Care Costs, Stupid."  So says Ezekiel Emanuel, paraphasing James Carville, in a Feb 29, 2008 commentary in JAMA.  Emanuel argues that expanding health care coverage to the uninsured will be impossible and unsustainable unless the health care system gets a handle on cost inflation.

What does this have to do with translational research?  A lot.  Most economists agree that new technologies are one of the largest drivers of health care cost inflation. Though unmentioned in Emanuel's piece, any attempt to rein in cost inflation will need to address incentive structures in biomedical innovation. This would have major implications for translational research (for example, cost controls would adversely affect the ability of biotechnology firms to raise capital).  (photocredit: Sister72, 2006)

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