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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

State of the Art

Here is an article (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2358697/The-revolutionary-blood-test-predict-long-youll-live-ailments-youll--fast-youll-age.html ) that reinforces the assertion that science will, very soon, be able to predict the health future of individuals from birth.   Not with individual certainty, but certainly with statistically significant accuracy.

My prediction is that this capability (to forecast health) will cause individuals and groups to twist themselves into pretzels in an attempt to defend various positions.  For the moment assume we now have the aforementioned capability to forecast health issues from birth.  Here are a few troubling (?) questions.
       1.  Would the parents want to know?
      2.   Why would they not want to know?
3. Would they be derelict, morally or legally, in their responsibility to the child if they declined to run the test (and know)?
4.  If the news is bad should they tell the child when they are old enough to understand?
5.  Who should have access to this information other than the parents and the individual involved?
6.  Should the state require the test?
7.  Would this have to be disclosed when applying for insurance?
8.  Would a statistical probability of developing a medical condition be considered the same as a preexisting condition for insurance purposes?
10. If, as seems probable, we progress to government sponsored health insurance would the health projections for an individual (not metadata) be considered information the government should have?
      11. Should this information about a future spouse be made available before marriage? How about an
              existing spouse, children, parents, or legal guardians. Should disclosure be voluntary or mandatory?
        12. Can an employer insist on access to this information?


  1. Excellent questions.

    7 and 8 are a good part of what led me to support national health insurance. I don't see how traditional insurance can operate in this environment.

    1. Agreed that 7 & 8 are incompatible with traditional insurance. The ACA has removed the option for Insurance companies to exclude (a requirement with which I agree). Adjusting rates to match the increased risk is, I believe, something of a windfall for the insurance companies (and I do not begrudge them their ROI).