Why rising healthcare costs aren't necessarily bad

When considering the high cost of a new drug or technology, it's important to keep in mind the long-term value that medical innovations can bring to not only the patient, but also to the broader economy. In some cases, rising costs are not such a bad thing, Sally Pipes, president of the San Francisco-based Pacific Research Institute, writes at Forbes.

New drugs can keep patients healthier and out of the hospital, and cancer death rates are down over the past three decades, Pipes writes. Pill-sized monitors that can be swallowed allow doctors to better diagnose and monitor their patients, offering potential savings for the healthcare system.

Pipes also points to the da Vinci robot as providing potentially less pain for patients, smaller scars and a lower risk of infection, although she fails to note a spate of recent criticisms of the robots illustrating that it's effective, though expensive, for some procedures, and not considered the best choice in others.

Increased costs in improved well-being can be worth it, Pipes adds, pointing out that the increase in personal spending on healthcare is far lower than the increase in costs for sporting goods or wireless service.

Still, she worries that too much focus on rising healthcare costs will choke off the innovation that can improve lives. There remain plenty of innovative projects in the pipeline, however, according to Mercom Capital Group. It says venture capital funding in healthcare IT is on pace to exceed $2 billion this year.

To learn more:
- read the Forbes article