So I gave my thoughts on health care reform, now some quick thoughts on the future of medicine. (I am a science-fiction writer after all.)
Three basic scenarios in my opinion. All of these are looking at the state of medical science about the year 2050.
Scenario One: The Conservative Nightmare.
Financial crash due to bloated spending and regulatory overload kills innovation and development. We haven’t progressed much beyond where we are now. Very little research being done as nearly all medical science dollars are consumed in treatment. With or without healthcare reform the government is buried under a crushing load of debt and bills to care for its population.
Scenario Two: The Liberal Nightmare.
Breakthroughs lead of significant advances in health and life extension, but the costs are high. The processes can not be made cheaper by economy of scale or mass production and only the well-off can afford top-end care. For the wealthy life is very good. Disease and morbidity are things that happen to other people. As side from trauma, there is little to fear health-wise and maybe even aging itself can be prevented. For the poor and most of the world it’s a game of watch as the rich go on and on while you get sick and die. Expect vast social upheaval and disruption as this is not a stable system in my opinion.
Scenario Three: Medical Transformation.
The way computer sciences changed our world, advances in medical science make the world of 2050 as unlike todays as our computers are to roman numerals. Quick and easy genetic testing and treatments means that everyone get treatment and drugs designed for their unique genome. Treatment of disease is cheap and plentiful. Healthcare for all is taken for granted because it costs so little. People live long and productive lives without the infirmities and indignities of old age today. Our decedents look upon our medical treatments of today the way we look on witch-doctors and leeches.
The question is — which scenario will it be?