Lecturer says health care helps economy

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America is on the verge of a "golden age" in health care that will include genetic and nanotechnology-based cures for disease and universal access to health care, a health care futurist told Augusta leaders Monday.

Dr. Leland Kaiser gives the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce his take on the future of health care, including universal health coverage.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Dr. Leland Kaiser gives the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce his take on the future of health care, including universal health coverage.

But the industry has to change its approach to get there, Dr. Leland Kaiser said.

Sponsored by University Hospital, Dr. Kaiser was the latest in the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce Economic Club Speaker Series. A fundamental mistake many business leaders make is not viewing health care as a business, Dr. Kaiser said.

"Health care is one of the largest businesses in the country, and Augusta is a good example," Dr. Kaiser said. "It's a business, and it generates money. It's a good thing. The more health care facilities you have, the better your economy does."

The mistake most people make is in thinking health care expenditures should be reduced, he said. Though some decry the fact that 18 percent of the gross domestic product is devoted to health care, Dr. Kaiser said he'd like to see it over 30 percent.

That could mean developing new ways of treating disease from a genetic standpoint or using nanotechnology to combat illness, he said.

"There is no question in my mind that medical technology will be the major driver of the economy in the future everywhere," Dr. Kaiser said.

It will mean moving from a "disease care system" to one that tries to prevent disease and promotes wellness, something that is starting to happen, he said. Because of the enormous cost, it will also mean moving to a new way of funding it.

"With the cost going up and reduced coverage, we've got a gap we can't fill," he said. "The only way we can fill it is with federal involvement, in terms of the funding end of things, not necessarily delivery. If it is a funder and not a manager or deliverer of care, that's good. I'd like to see a system where we still use private industry, private administrators and private (providers)."

It also will mean providing health coverage to everyone.

"We have to have some type of universal health assurance," Dr. Kaiser said.

The system must cut out inefficiency and needless duplication through health care agencies working together on some things and competing on others, which he termed "coopetition."

Augusta leaders are starting to recognize the strength of the area's health care and are trying to promote it, said Robert Osborne, the president of Augusta Tomorrow Inc.

"I think they're also recognizing just the pure economic power that the health care industry has here in Augusta," he said. "We're beginning to see people try and take advantage of it to do more. It's tremendous."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 09/18/07 - 04:09 am
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The only thing Dr Kaiser

The only thing Dr Kaiser forgot to mention is the human factor. If "universal health care" is "funded by the federal government" then the quality of coverage goes down. At least it has 100% of the time it has been initiated. While the technology and techniques will continue to improve because of the amount of money pumped into the system, the care will have to be "more evenly" distributed so as to make specific types of care less readily available and delays of critical testing and care much longer. I like Dr Kaisers view of the future of health care, it's the reality I don't like.

HTN007
19
Points
HTN007 09/18/07 - 04:11 am
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What a bunch of "pie in the

What a bunch of "pie in the sky"! I just have 2 questions: 1]how much does this guy get paid to give these talks(a lot I'l bet)? and 2] what does he smoke before giving them?

bccinco
0
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bccinco 09/18/07 - 04:16 am
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Health care helps

Health care helps economy.....especially for the pharmcuitical companies, HMO's, specialty clinics, private practices, etc....

naugliberal
0
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naugliberal 09/18/07 - 05:03 am
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We have to have a system

We have to have a system where everyone has access to health care along with their JOB. If we can do it for the military and for everyone over 65 then we can work out a system which includes everyone. If we stop using scare tactics everytime the government is mentioned. If you get a job you get coverage with the cost being shared by employee and employer and when you change jobs you take it with you. Having the best health care in the world doesn't matter if 40 million people have no way of getting it.

amazed1
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amazed1 09/18/07 - 05:32 am
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replace welfare with health

replace welfare with health care.

glass houses
0
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glass houses 09/18/07 - 05:49 am
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Just ask Canada how they like

Just ask Canada how they like their universal health care! In some Canadian territories it is against the law to have private insurance at all! There will be no choice, longer waits for important testing, surgeries and care in general. Wake up! I am surprised that University Hospital brought in this Hillary minion to speak!

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 09/18/07 - 08:03 am
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Republican Mantra: I got

Republican Mantra: I got mine, Screw You!

bigalsc
4
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bigalsc 09/18/07 - 09:52 am
0
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Simply open up Medicare to

Simply open up Medicare to anyone. The cost of healthcare is directly proportionate to the numbers and populations that access it.Medicare funds the elderly and the disabled. If it was accessed by persons that are generally healthy paying into the system, the per unit cost would go down.Being available to anyone, regardless of health , would mean that those who now wait to go to the emergency room would receive the preventative care that they need. Those persons today do get treated, and we all pay for it , including Patriciathomas.Eighty percant of all health care expenses today go for end of life scenarios.

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