Today's Debate: Is medical technology recession proof?

The fact is that, during economic hard times, hospitals and patients and doctors do tighten their belts. Frills disappear, money for new gadgets which aren't really innovative disappears.

MedTronic Pain Management SystemDuring the recent market slide, which ended today after the government the interest rate it charges banks, analysts had one good idea.

Medical technology stocks.

Absolutely recession proof, they said. The health care equipment index, which includes Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Hospira, Zimmer Holdings and Becton Dickinson, is the place to be.

Is it? The index did fall a bit during the downturn, and not all equipment suppliers rise all the time. PatientLine, an English company which tried to put paid TV in NHS hospitals there, is flirting with bankruptcy.

The fact is that, during economic hard times, hospitals and patients and doctors do tighten their belts. Frills disappear, money for new gadgets which aren't really innovative disappears.

I don't think anyone in this business should root for hard times. What do you think?