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nas90skog writes,

<<<intercsr:That's right. But the only reason there are a large enough number of people who can pay $50,000 for a heart bypass operation today is because a large number of people have health insurance.>>>>

In the case of CABG surgery that health insurance you refer to is usually Medicare.

<<<intercst: Under the free-market system many conservatives seem to advocate, fewer and fewer people are insured each year and the extent of the coverage for those that are insured diminishes each year.>>>>

Again, in the case of CABG surgery, the number of candidates is increasing rapidly and the extent of coverage remains about the same resulting in a rapidly increasing Medicare budget. This reality is the energy that has driven advances in minimally invasive surgery and led to significant reductions in length of stay, surgeon fees and overall costs of the surgery. There are still cost pressures, but they are doing a lot more with what they have.

I usually stay away from this debate because I don't see any easy solution to a problem where our capabilities are "Mercedes Benz" and our budget is "Ford Taurus"; especially when so many have been conditioned to believe they are entitled to the former for the price of the latter.

Great post nas90skog!

I agree with your comments regarding "our capabilities are "Mercedes Benz" and our budget is "Ford Taurus", but as you've described, CABG surgery probably wouldn't exist without the "socialized" Medicare system spuring demand, growth and innovation in this field of medicine.

How many heart bypasses do you think we'd be doing if the only folks getting this procedure were those paying $15,000 to $20,000 per year for private medical insurance (a reasonable estimate of the private market health insurance premium for someone over age 65?)

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