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"Considerations of Cost Disease"

A long but interesting look at exactly which parts of our economy have seen the steepest rise in prices over the last several decades. The author concludes that our understanding of which ones, and why, is at best very imcomplete. Regarding medicine, the field in which he works, he mentions that part--but only part--of the problem is this:

A patient goes to the hospital with a heart attack. While he’s recovering, he tells his doctor that he’s really upset about all of this. Any normal person would say “You had a heart attack, of course you’re upset, get over it.” But if his doctor says this, and then a year later he commits suicide for some unrelated reason, his family can sue the doctor for “not picking up the warning signs” and win several million dollars. So now the doctor consults a psychiatrist, who does an hour-long evaluation, charges the insurance company $500, and determines using her immense clinical expertise that the patient is upset because he just had a heart attack.

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