It’s easy to find–and focus on–bad news. The purpose of News Sandwich is to help readers tip the balance a bit, by sandwiching an item of bad news between two items of good news. Readers are not encouraged to ignore reality, but simply to remember that good things are happening as well, even in today’s world.
With present and future damage to the health care industry due to Obamacare on everyone’s minds, I thought it best to start with a medical-themed post.
According to a story published this week by Wired UK, a team of cardiovascular scientists have said that it will be possible, using 3D printing technology, to create a transplantable human heart within ten years. “Bioprinted” hearts are expected to be made using a patient’s own cells, with the printing process taking only a few hours, followed by a “maturation” process taking about a week. While the technology will initially be very expensive, the rapid decrease in cost to produce consumer-ready 3D printers bodes well for Wired’s Liat Clark’s speculation that “One day, the bioprinter might be as ubiquiotus in hospitals as an X-ray machine.”
To read more about the technology that may soon extend and improve the quality of human life, check out the full article (and links within) at Wired UK.
Of course the development of life-saving bioprinting technology depends on, as the article states, having adequate financial resources available. And, if Obamacare continues to be implemented, dramatically increasing government control over the health care industry over the next several years, funds to explore new medical technology will be scarce. As I discussed in this week’s “Don’t Let It Go…Unheard,” I was surprised to learn via this story in The Independent that the antibiotic-resistant “superbug” scare of recent years is due to the fact that there has not been a new class of antibiotics created since 1987! What is not surprising, unfortunately, is the reason for the lack of innovation in this industry: creating new antibiotics is no longer profitable. The reason it is no longer profitable is that governments don’t allow drug companies to charge prices high enough to make it profitable. And this is due to the widespread idea that it is considered immoral to make a profit from services and products that save human lives. As a result, we must worry that a routine operation could cause us to contract an infection resulting in major illness or death. More here.
It’s frustrating that government intervention in the pharmaceutical, biotech and health care industries threatens to deprive us of the benefit of medical advances, both past and future. There is hope for reversing this destructive trend, however: According to a recent Gallup poll, a majority in the United States say that healthcare is not the government’s responsibility. When asked, “Do you think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage, or that it is not the responsibility of the federal government?” 56% of respondents said no. Let’s hope that the reason for this reversal is not just frustration with the failed Obamacare rollout, or a belief that the state governments would do it better. I like to think that Obamacare is helping many to understand both that government intervention hinders progress and that health care is not a right.