Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Paging Dr. McArdle, Stat!

Today we shall be brief. Dr. Megan McArdle explains the medical industry to us.

That's how cancer treatment has mostly advanced--not with a spectacular cure that can be funded by better targeted NIH money, or identified by comparative effectiveness research. It grinds out small improvements one at a time, experimenting with combinations of drugs and radiation and surgery, dosages, and timing. A lot of the improvement in mortality rates comes from better detection--but that means a lot of money wasted on tests, and biopsies for false positives.

Will the drug be "worth it"? What's the price of giving someone six months instead of one to say good bye to their family, or shrinking their tumors so that they don't die in pain? Technocrats can't answer those questions. We have to.


Therefore, we can't have national health care like everyone else. And the NIH Stem Cell Unit doesn't exist. And a new treatment for cancer using stem cells has not been developed.

I have an idea--instead of looking for a teaching job this spring, I will find someone to give me a lot of money to make up wrong information about subjects I do not understand and will not google, let alone research. My first article will be on prostitution so I will find a pimp to tell me all about his profession. I will pass on his word as gospel, and recommend to my readers that the buying and selling of women should be allowed. Otherwise millions will die, the markets for feather boas and wide-brimmed hats will crash, and Milton Friedman will cry one bitter tear.

5 comments:

Substance McGravitas said...

A lot of the improvement in mortality rates comes from better detection--but that means a lot of money wasted on tests, and biopsies for false positives.

Yeah, because you get tested and you don't have cancer and you're like GOD DAMN YOU FOR WASTING THAT MONEY DOCTOR!

Desargues said...

Good luck with your job search. I hope something works out. There's a lot of us in your situation.

Susan of Texas said...

Thanks, Desargues.

Daniel Harper said...

I don't even see how her original is an argument in favor of the free market, precisely. Public institutions are likely even-better equipped to do such research as she describes than private companies, whose bottom line would rather see large profits from tiny expenditures. Besides which, much drug industry work is subsidizes by the taxpayer anyway, through various grants, so Megan's continued ignorance of the way in which modern medical research operates should not be surprising to any reader of this blog.

Batocchio said...

Otherwise millions will die, the markets for feather boas and wide-brimmed hats will crash, and Milton Friedman will cry one bitter tear.

He'll shed more than one, but only if the market demands it.