Monday, January 5, 2015

America: High Tech, High Touch, High Freedom, High Backlash

The gee-whiz futurists are always wrong because they believe technological innovation travels in a straight line. It doesn’t. It weaves and bobs and lurches and sputters.

John Naisbitt (born 1929), Megatrends (1982)

America is a technological and freedom loving nation. We embrace technology more than government. We are more pragmatic than ideological. We believe privately funded technology solves most problems, be they political or economic. Economic growth, not regulation, is what we seek, for prosperity and free enterprise , we think, will overcome economic inequities.

If energy or gas prices soar, no problem. Let entrepreneurs go unfettered. They will come up with technology solutions the public likes, e.g., fracking with low energy costs and Uber, with convenient rides for common folk(Scott Rausmussen, “Technology, Not Politics, Leading the Way,” RealClear Politics, January 2, 2014.

If you like your SUV, fret not. Gas prices will fall, thanks to abundant newly-liberated fossil fuel from drilled and fractured ground. If you detest waiting in the rain for a taxi, let technology connect you to the nearest taxi driver.

If you distrust government, opt for freedom. Start a populist movement like the Tea Party or elect more Republicans (“Distrust of Government Fuels the Populist Revolt, RealClear Politics, January 3, 2014).

If you think political power stems from Middle Class and Working Class people from outside Washington rather than Upper Class Ivy League Elites from Boston, New York, Washington, and LA. Go for systematic incremental changes in the D.C. and Wall Street power structure even if it upsets the experts (Robert Pear, “Health Care Fixes Backed by Harvard Expert Roil Faculty,” New York Times, January 5, 2014).

If you believe high tech, data, and top-down management holds most of answers to your present and future health, lobby for universal e-medical records, population health surveillance, value-based health care, one-size-fits-all equal outcomes solutions, and big integrate organizations placing hospitals, insurers, and providers into big integrated systems. But what if these things are forced upon you by government regulations give you no individual options.

If you are a high tech, high touch person, be skeptical and lash back. Sure, MRIs and CT scans, laporascopic organ removals and biopsies, mini-noninvasive incisions, robotic surgeries, and stents for hearts and metals and plastics for joint replacement are good and monitoring apps for cardiovascular function and DNA and RNA inventories are birth, have their place, but at what monetary price and what cost.

What if you want to see doctor confidentially, what if you yearn for the personal touch, what if you want to rely on your personal responsibility and the judgment of you and your doctor. Well, then technology may not solve all of your problems.

And what if you don’t want to run the bureaucratic gauntlet imposed by government and insurers and what if you don’t want all your personal information revealed documented for all the world to see and if you don’t want to pay all those high deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurances, well, then, you might want to consider direct care from a concierge or cash-only doctor or surgeon, care from nurse practitioners in retail outlets, or care in urgent care out-patient clinics, the fastest growing segment of the health care market.

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