Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Health Economics: Part 1

Health Economics 1

We live in difficult economic times. Sadly, one of the first things to be eliminated from both government and personal budgets are expenses related to health maintenance and promotion. 

Then, as we become more depressed, we exercise less, eat even worse and become sicker still.

As Frank Rich wrote in the NYTimes:

"Of the 30 companies in the Dow Jones industrial index, 22 have announced job cuts since October. Unemployment is is up in all 50 states, with layoffs at both high-tech companies (Microsoft) and low (Catepillar). The December job loss in retailing is the worst since at least 1939. The new home sales rate has fallen to its all-time low since record-keeping began in 1963.

What are Americans still buying? BigMacs, Campbells's soup, Hershey's chocloate and Spam--the four food groups of the apocalypse."

As our diet and our health are inextricably linked, it is not surprising to see another related article at

“Shares of some of the drug makers, medical and health care services, pharma and biotech companies have been holding up quite well despite a broad selloff in equity markets. The primary reason which is being seen as helping these stocks is that they are recession proof.”

There is no anticipated shortage of sick Americans seeking drugs, treatments and cures. As baby-boomers and their unhealthy children and grandchildren age, market forecasters see healthcare as a burgeoning and never-ending growth sector. And, they are right. The healthcare tab for the United States in 2006 was $2.1 trillion dollars, an average of $ 7026 per person. That is projected to be $4.3 trillion by 2017, an average of $13,101 per person.

America, the simple truth is: as a people, we are very sick, and we can’t afford the tab. The cost for the insurance (let alone the costs of care, lost employee time for illness, retraining and rehiring, etc,) is crippling large and small businesses, local-state and federal government and individuals.

The answer lies not in treating illness, but in creating and nurturing health.

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