Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Genomics vs Insurance   posted by amnestic @ 11/28/2006 12:11:00 PM

Free Exchange has a comment on a comment on an article about the ability of genomics-informed medicine to break the game of chance at the very core of the insurance industry. The analogy to learning not to build houses in natural disaster areas is made, but with certain diseases no prevention (post-natally) is possible.

An interesting point though re: insuring the poor. Probably you've all thought of it this way before:
But what about the poor? It is hard to see any reason why insurance companies should subsidize them. If society thinks that poor families should have insurance, then society should pay for it through the tax code, not slap regulations on insurance companies to keep information from reaching the market.

In a related note, there is a Google Techtalk available featuring Russ B. Altman, the guy heading PharmGKB, an ambitious project to link SNPs to pharmacological outcomes. As a for instance, something like 7% of people have SNPs that disable the enzyme that turns codeine into morphine, so they get no pain relief from Tylenol 3. So let's not waste the insurance money buying them that medication.

If you like watching videos of people being cool on the internet, you might also want to check out TEDTalks. In one of my favorites, Dr. Robert Fischell shoots magnet guns at peoples' heads and disrupts migraines before they start.