Even as male moviegoers are slow to let go of Angelina Jolie’s amazing technicolor dream breasts, women are asking themselves: What about my boobies?
Are they fetching objects of desire or ticking time bombs?
Along with a spectacular jawline and an immune system strong enough to survive a four-year marriage to Billy Bob Thornton, Angelina also inherited the deadly BRCA1 gene, which jacked up her odds of breast cancer so high that she took pre-emptive action and had a prophylactic double mastectomy. If only she’d shown the same foresight before filming The Tourist.
Angelina learned about her risks because of the sort of medical innovation in which the U.S. has long been the clear leader. She benefited from a genetic test that is at the center of a Supreme Court case challenging test-maker Myriad Technologies’ right to enforce genetic patents.
The ACLU and others have sued the biotech giant, saying that you can’t patent products of nature, or even seemingly unnatural products like Angelina’s perfect lips.
However the case plays out, here’s something to think about: Over the past few decades, America has lead the world in the number of new drugs being developed– and I’m not just talking about purple kush.
We’ve also led the way in developing a host on new technologies, too – like MRIs, CT scans, and genomic sequencing.
We haven’t been number one because American researchers are smarter. However messed up America’s health care system might be, it’s still more driven by free markets than virtually any other place. That’s where innovation and change – and the next big lifesaving breakthroughs — come from. With the right incentives, even Jenny McCarthy could come up with a lifesaving vaccine.
Angelina’s test cost north of $3,000, well out of the price range of most women in America. But just like VCRs, cellphones, and Lindsay Lohan’s dignity, things that start out expensive and rare quickly become cheap and ubiquitous.
It’s not clear how the Supreme Court will rule in the Myriad Technologies case, but this much is more certain than the fact there’s not going to be a sequel to Salt: As Obamacare kicks in, groundbreaking genetic tests and preventative surgeries will remain elusive perks of the privileged, as innovation and patient choice are always the first things to go when bureaucracy and the state take over health care.
For Reason.tv, I’m Kennedy.
Written by Nick Gillespie and Kennedy and produced by Joshua Swain. Music by Kevin MacLeod.