Saturday, February 13, 2010

Health Care

A fight over health care rages in the United States between liberals who wants a government-run system along the lines of Canada's, and conservatives who favor the existing privately held insurance companies. Mad Engineering wishes to endorse a third way: automated health care.
All processes can, with some effort, be automated. Including medicine, a complicated field. Medical care will be difficult to automate, due to the inherent complexity, but it can happen.
I propose a series of machines be invented, each one capable of one particular procedure, and one able to give a physical exam to suggest which other machine should be availed. As a gesture in favor of the liberals, I propose that the government pay for and place at least one physical-giving machine per city, and as a gesture to the conservatives, I suggest that it charge 25 cents per exam, and that the manufacturing company sell the machines to those willing to pay for one.
Medical doctors will now only have to handle the more complicated cases that the machines cannot handle. These tasks are also either more interesting to the doctor, or better paying. (I do know of people who have gotten free medical care, simply because their cases were interesting to the doctor, who was able to write a long report that increased his or her fame. The loss of the $2500 or so the doctor normally would have charged paid off with the chance to do the report and be talked about by other doctors.)
A government program should be in place for the indigent to offer a quarter or token to use the machines as needed, and private insurance companies can also provide tokens to use certain machines. Now nobody need suffer a lack of health care, human doctors mostly do complex procedures that interest them, and both government and insurance companies pay out less for more health care. Everybody wins.
Now you can stop with the cranky messages about how your idea of how health care should be distributed is the only good way and everyone else is plotting to make everyone die in a ditch somewhere.

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