"A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them, including California Pacific Medical Center, emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures—closing a wound with a needle and thread—typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more."
"Once you have beaten back a disease to just a few hundred cases, they will almost by definition be concentrated in places where there's some barrier—geographical, cultural, political—to easy vaccination. In general, each marginal case will cost more, and will consume more time and effort and labor, than the one before it...[but] the math of cost-benefit analyses runs aground when it comes to eradication campaigns, because the benefits, in theory, are infinite."
Two new revolutions in biology—gain-of-function research and synthetic biology—are forcing policymakers to rethink current national and international surveillance and regulatory systems, and any resolution will require international buy-in since the threat entails all living organisms.
Peter Orszag writes that new research finds hospitals with better heart attack patient survival rates are rewarded with greater market share, which suggests competitive forces are allocating patients to the most productive hospitals.
Authors: Yanzhong Huang, Patricia Moser, and Susann Roth Asian Development Bank
Yanzhong Huang, Patricia Moser, and Susann Roth discuss the key health challenges in the post-2015 development agenda for Asia and the Pacific, a highly populated, diverse region of countries with different health needs and priorities.
Peter Orszag wants regulators to watch out for excessive consolidation in local hospital markets as Medicare's shift to value-based payments puts pressure on health care providers to merge and raise fees for private insurers.
Thomas Bollyky describes the crisis emerging over access to treatment for diabetes, cancers, and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Bollyky argues that this crisis could transform the global response to NCDs as the last treatment access crisis transformed the international approach to HIV/AIDS.
CFR Senior Fellow for Global Health Laurie Garrett explains the conundrum of dual-use research of concern (DURC), in which the same experiments that allow scientists to understand pandemics can also create dangerous pathogens. Combined with advances in synthetic biology and increasingly affordable technologies, there is the possibility for a true biology revolution.
Without a more transparent international research and information-sharing system, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) could spread far beyond the bounds of the region for which it is named, write Laurie Garrett and Maxine Builder.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.