Spend some time with an oncologist.

Wrapping up a flyfishing trip to Canada with a radiologist (Dad), an oncologist and a cardio-thoracic surgeon, had a couple of snippets to add to the ongoing list thread re: medical issues. Dad fresh from the annual AMA meeting– " medical community is in need of 25M specialists today growing to 250M by 2015. It will obviously not be met."

From the oncologist, "small private practices will cease to exist in the next few years due to the ongoing grind from unrealistic medicare, medicaid and insurance co. reimbursements. In all likelihood, within a decade most Docs will be hospital employees unable to cope with the budgetary pressures from all sides. Mayo clinic in AZ dropped medicaid recently and that was a big, big deal given the organization's philosophies."

And in the tech will save the day dept, from the surgeon, " Now having great success replacing heart valves using minimally invasive catheter and stent procedures to fix the valve in place." Imagine the entire valve apparatus (one of many) replaced in one fell swoop. Separately, estimates his patient population could be cut by 30 percent or more through better diet, cholesterol management, smoking cessation and regular exercise. Is very enthused and excited for the promise stem cells seem to hold.

On a final note, all commenters were deeply suspicious of and in the revulsion stage when it came to equities as an asset class. I estimate they were 2 to 10 years from retirement but no one thought it was an option given investment returns unless forced to do so for physical reasons.





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