Doctors should embrace bitcoin, says cancer surgeon

Doctors should embrace bitcoin, says cancer surgeon

The price of the divisive digital asset has risen 80 percent this year and was trading at $29,410 on Tuesday morning, beating the returns of other asset classes. Over the past five years, it has returned 255.8 percent as an eclectic mix of professionals, traditionalists, speculators, mom-and-pop investors, libertarians and nihilists embrace the mania.

Dr. Sammour first bought “a few bitcoins in 2015” and has been actively buying more since then, but he specifically declined to recommend that healthcare professionals invest in the cryptocurrency.

Alternate option

“Most surgeons will spend their money on more houses or stocks,” he said. “The system teaches them to speculate, and I think that’s destructive because it drives up housing prices for people who don’t have a lot of money. Bitcoin can be an alternative option to store wealth without the harmful societal consequences.”

Australian doctors are considered to be among the most committed investors among non-financial professions. According to data from the Australian Taxation Office, surgeons are Australia’s most prolific property speculators, with at least 43 per cent owning an investment property.

Dr Sammour said bitcoin should appeal to doctors, given they are being hit by a range of rising professional costs.

The British-born bitcoin apostle said data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics supported his claim that the average cost of US hospital services had risen by 10 percent per year since 2000 because scarce assets such as hospital beds or luxury real estate rose in price faster than assets that were easy to mass-produce such as television.

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As a consequence, he said the Royal Adelaide Hospital now provides fewer beds per capita than at any time in its history.

“An increase of 2 to 3 percent [government] funding per year is unlikely to keep pace with the cost of delivering the service. That is why hospital beds are decreasing, lists of elective operations are getting longer, and the ambulance ramp-up is increasing even though we spend more.

“Medicare and the health care system need more funding because the current model is not keeping pace with health care inflation or the cost of health care,” he said. “If you see how much house prices go up compared to the CPI, you can imagine that a hospital bed is more expensive than an apartment bed because it requires a lot of extra resources for the staff. If an apartment bed goes up a certain amount per year, you can expect a hospital bed to go up even faster because they’re harder to make.”

To support his argument, Dr Sammour said the construction cost of the Royal Adelaide Hospital came to $2.4 billion, making it the third most expensive building in history at the time, ahead of better-known global landmarks including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, London’s The Shard and the Taipei 101 building.

Spanning three city blocks, the hospital provides 800 beds to a South Australian catchment of 1.6 million people at a ratio of one bed to 2000 people.

This compares with the former Royal Adelaide Hospital, which was completed in 1967 at a cost of $100 million, providing 900 beds for a population of 600,000 at a ratio of 1 bed to 800 people.

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Dating back to 1877, the city’s hospital cost £50,000 and provided 200 beds for a population of 100,000 at a ratio of 1 bed to 500 people, Dr Sammour said.

The Bitcoin evangelist said the central banks’ loose monetary policy had resulted in a misallocation of resources, rewarding financiers, bankers and asset managers close to the source of funding, but hurting unionized healthcare workers.

The cryptocurrency’s emergence as a new asset class remains controversial due to its huge energy usage, relatively slow processing times, and claims that it relies on the Bigger Fool theory to attract new buyers as early promoters sell out.

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