AlphaNinja - No I didn't come up with that, Paul Howard did, writing for City Journal.
He doesn't take too political of a position, partly because he himself doesn't have the answers to many of the health care issues we face. But he cites some really interesting RAND research about preventative health care and the costs of living longer...
If anything, it's a reminder that despite what we or our politicians think, our ability to "control" outcomes is still limited.
The Reaper Is Cheaper
Preventing disease is praiseworthy, but it may not reduce health-care costs.
"William Osler, a renowned nineteenth-century doctor and the first physician-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, once remarked, “Pneumonia may well be called the friend of the aged. Taken off by it in an acute, short, not often painful illness, the old man escapes the ‘cold gradations of decay,’ so distressing to himself and to his friends.” If Osler were alive today, he might call pneumonia the friend of Medicare accountants, since it kills victims quickly, in contrast with the lingering and expensive chronic illnesses that account for about three-quarters of all Medicare spending."
The Reaper is Cheaper