Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cancer drugs bankrupting the country? Give me a break!

Dubner, quoting Arthur Levinson, Genentech founder:
Look at how much society is investing in cancer. In the absence of better care, 42% of everybody out there is going to get cancer. And half of those 42% are going to die of cancer. It’s the leading cause of death among Americans under age 85. So how much are we spending on drugs for cancer? We have a $12 trillion GDP [gross domestic product]. And we’re spending $15 billion. If I do that math, 1/800th of GDP for the leading cause of death. And people say cancer drugs are bankrupting America! Give me a break.
1/800th seems about right to me. I'd rather spend my money throughout my life, not mostly at the very end of it. And households continue to make gains in buying power (except for healthcare and education, which are coincidentally the most heavily government subsidized sectors).

UPDATE: I just saw a nice graph by Steve Conover (almost all of his visualizations are awesome); this one on job creation. Guess which sectors saw the most net new jobs created?

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