Innovation Imperiled

US healthcare needs radical revision, but we can't wipe out innovation in the process.

Richard Gallagher
Jan 1, 2009

Healthcare spending in the United States is unsustainable. It topped $2.3 trillion in 2007—that's $7,600 for every man, woman and child. That wouldn't be quite so hard to swallow if the service was excellent, but it's spotty, especially for the 47 million uninsured. Reform is essential to reduce the financial burden and to make the system more accessible and equitable. The Office of Health Reform, led by Jeanne Lambrew, reporting to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Daschle, is a welcome start.

But, while everyone would be delighted to return to 1970's healthcare costs, who among us wants to return to 1970's healthcare outcomes? Improvement in diagnostics, prevention, treatment, and professional training has been dramatic. Even though a radical overall is needed, we must support research and invention.

There's a chain of innovation...

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