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Economist health care articles

This week’s edition of The Economist magazine has some great articles on health care.

  • Mayo with Everything: World-famous hospitals are becoming the hub of economic activity for many cities. For instance, Rochester, Minnesota’s economy is heavily dependent on the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland relies heavily on the Cleveland Clinic to attract high quality health care workers to the Midwest. Are these mega-hospitals welfare improving or are they growing too big?
  • Health care in China: Despite dramatic economic growth, health care is often prohibitively expensive for the poor. Doctors are under-compensated and often accept bribes to supplement their income. “Even though urban health care receives a disproportionate share of total government spending on health, many urban residents fare just as badly [as rural residents]. Li Ling of Peking University estimates that more than half of the urban population has no insurance.”
  • India’s fake doctors: India only has 60 doctors per 100,000 people (compared to 257 per 100,000 in the US). Untrained individuals posing as doctors have stepped in to fill the void. In fact there are more “quacks” than real doctors in India. “Indeed, so essential are quacks to India’s health-care system that the National AIDS Control Organisation says it is planning to include them in its AIDS-control programme, training them in basic care and counselling of people with sexually transmitted diseases. Some quacks, of course, may be perfectly responsible. Mr Noor, for example, swears that he refers all ‘serious cases’ to government hospitals. How he diagnoses them is not clear.
  • Gates Foundation as a monopoly: The Gates Foundation has done great things to help alleviate poverty and increase the health of residents of developing nations. But is the Gates Foundation gorilla a non-profit monopoly, stifling innovative ideas from smaller non-profits?
  • Virus forecast: Dr. Wolfe proposes a Global Viral Forecasting Initiative. He needs $50 million to build this planet-wide epidemic surveillance system.