Life

For Some Services, ‘Affordable’ is a Relative Term

As science and technology continue to advance, many of us can expect to live longer, and hopefully healthier lives.

Just consider the items people walk around with today that 20 years ago would have been considered something out of an episode of Star Trek.

This week, I stumbled across an article about genome sequencing. Genome sequencing is a complicated genetic procedure in which every element of one’s DNA is mapped out and, presumably, decoded to determine what genetic traits a human has in his or her own genetic code.

The idea behind genome sequencing is predicting which diseases one might be susceptible to as well as which medications might do more harm than good.

One possible result of genome sequencing, for example, would be a woman electing to have a double mastectomy because the sequencing uncovers a high susceptibility to breast cancer.

Actresses Angelina Jolie and Christina Applegate have both undergone double mastectomies after learning they had a genetic mutation, though I’m not certain whether they underwent a complete genome sequencing procedure to determine this fact.

What really struck me as odd was the notion the article put forth that stated at last, genome sequencing is “affordable.”

Let me ask: what’s “affordable” to you? Of course, there are three simple ways to look at the concept of affordable that immediately come to mind.

First, there’s looking at your bank account to see what you can actually afford based on how much money you actually have. This assumes that you’re not willing to spend more than you can actually afford, which is the smartest way to go at all times.

Second, there’s looking at your credit cards to see how much unused credit you might be able to use to charge the cost. This assumes you want to know badly enough that you’re willing to “borrow” the money by charging it and then pay interest on that money until you pay off the credit card.

Then there’s the less concrete way of looking at it: a subjective number that, to you, means a reasonable price to pay if you were willing and able to do so. (It could even be an amount you consider reasonable even if you couldn’t afford it at that particular moment.

This article said genome sequencing can be purchased for just under $1,000. I imagine their idea of “just under” is the typical $999.

Do you consider that “affordable?” I don’t.

You tell me: Do you think a $1,000 test is ‘affordable?’ What range would it need to reach before you would?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.