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Seasteading and Health Care: Islands of Innovation


Innovation in health care is woefully lacking and government red tape is largely to blame, but seasteading just might be a way to circumvent bureaucracy without sacrificing quality.

Mention seasteading at a party, and you will likely get the same glassy-eyed stares that the topic of Bitcoin garnered five years ago. Of course, by now most of us understand the revolutionary implications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. But the significance of seasteading is, unfortunately, still lost on some.

For anyone reading this with glassy eyes of their own, seasteading "is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government." And while seasteading offers hope for a future where individual sovereignty is protected and out of reach of government abuse, it also provides ample opportunity to reinvent the way we view health care innovation.

Regulatory Burdens Inhibit Innovation

As developed and prosperous as America is, its health care system is severely lacking. And while supporters of government intervention will tell you this is because the private sector has too much power and influence over our care options, this is simply not the case. In fact, much of the reason that our health care system is both inefficient and overpriced is because it is one of the most heavily regulated sectors.

The truth of the matter is that the regulatory burdens placed on the health care sector harm those who are in most need of care.

The approval process for new drugs, treatments, and medical devices is both pricey and rigorous. This makes it exceedingly difficult for any new progress to be made quickly. In addition to the 1,000 pages of paperwork that must be completed during the application process, it can take up to two and a half years for the government to grant approval. And this is assuming that the entire process runs smoothly which, given the nature of government bureaucracies, is not always the case. Not to mention, prior to 2012, all applications for new treatments had to be submitted through the mail, only adding to its length. It was not until recently that the FDA updated its process to allow online submissions, symbolizing just how outdated the government truly is.

As far as costs are concerned, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development projected that the approval process costs a whopping $2.9 billion. This presents a huge financial strain for smaller companies that are not as well funded as larger pharmaceutical brands.

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