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Thought experiment number 182735234

September 20, 2009

Ok let’s play around with a thought experiment involving health-care. I’m going to make a few fun assumptions and then go from there. So let us suppose that all medicine is poison (I knew this would be fun) and that it’s always bad for you in varying degrees. Also let’s assume that healing probabilities are independent from medicine over all. Let’s say that people go to the doctor because they want to feel like they are being taken care of. On the other hand, doctors really want to find a cure that has positive benefits and in good faith want to experiment with various methods (it just so happen that they are all bad for the patient in the end, as postulated above). Ok now let’s run this model under two scenarios. In the first one patients don’t pay a dime: it all comes out of the printing presses, which does create some inflation, but the bad effects of inflation are so dispersed and hard to measure (people don’t find a job as easily etc…) that they don’t have any tangible effect on individual decisions regarding health-care. In the second scenario, patients pay for the poison with their own money. Well, with these hypothesis it seems clear to me that people in the first case are more likely to be guinea-pig for uncertain science experiments.
While in the second case, there would be stronger incentives to find psychological relief some other way.

I’m not saying that this is the world we live in, but at least in this parallel universe I would be afraid if someone else was paying for experimentation on my body. Of course, one can also run the thought experiment with completely different assumptions, say, one where medicine always has positive effects, etc….

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