Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Healthcare facts
Old 07-28-2008, 11:14 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
aenlighten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 275
Healthcare facts

I was reading DeLong on Waldmann's Healthcare Reform when I came across this most informative comment I thought worth sharing here. It was a revelation to me.:

Wow. Where to begin.
1.) The assertion that high tech/high cost intervention is responsible for improvement in coronary disease mortality is at least questionable and probably wrong. The US actually trails most other developed nations in the effectiveness of care for coronary disease, and almost all of them use much more conservative care based on medicines and rehab and much less coronary bypass (the US performs 75% of the bypasses done in the world) and angioplasty. The big changes in coronary disease mortality are better ascribed to the development of new classes of drugs (especially beta blockers) than to interventional techniques. A recent US study showed that angioplasty actually resulted in worse outcomes than medical treatment in most patients.
2.) The regional differences in health care costs people like to talk about are based on two things: lower utilization of high tech/high cost techniques and the government policy of paying providers much less for care in some parts of the country than others. The index study on this compared Minneapolis and Miami. Miami happens to be the highest reimbursement area in the country. Minneapolis is in the low range for reimbursement among large metro areas. The government (HCFA) justifies these differences – often as much as 80% -- in reimbursement based on cost of living, but in reality political considerations are very important (if you are a congressman from South Florida and wish to continue your employment, you had better be very interested in Medicare reimbursement issues regardless of what party you belong to, whereas a congressman from Minnesota may be much more interested in farm policy.)
3.) The notion that health care costs are lower for people with good health habits is true only in the short term. Investigation by the Dutch national health system showed that non-smokers, people of more ideal weight, and people with healthy exercise patterns actually cost the system more in the long run. The reason is that they live longer. All people absorb large amounts of health care expense when they go through the process of health collapse and dying, and all people – especially old people – absorb health care expense in both a regular (normal year to year care) and irregular (more acute care) basis over time. People with less healthy habits enter the crisis stage of health care at a younger age. The baby boomer population of the US is now in an age range (45-65) where there is sharply increased morbidity and mortality among people with poor health habits. The more healthy boomers will experience the same sort of spike when they reach their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, and in the meantime will receive cataract surgeries, hip replacements, hysterectomies, prostate surgeries, treatment for low grade skin cancers, etc. etc. In the words of Bruce Springsteen, “everyone dies, and that’s a fact.” The only health care systems that benefit financially in the long term from insuring more healthy patients are systems, like our private insurance programs and HMO’s, which can dump the cost of caring for older people on other systems – Medicare. So while better health habits benefit the patients themselves and are to be strongly encouraged, they will actually increase costs to the entire national medical system in the long run. The notion that better health habits will reduce overall health costs is not correct.
4.) Prospective payment systems – paying providers a lump sum based on numbers and possibly types of enrolled patients – do not save money and do not improve health outcomes. America’s thirty year flirtation with HMO’s has shown that beyond a reasonable doubt. Most systems throughout the world have found that fee for service payments work best. While fee for service does contain some perverse incentive to provide extra unnecessary service in order to increase profits, that tendency can be controlled by use of practice standards enforced by central payers in single payer and social insurance systems. The perverse incentives in prospective payment systems are to deny necessary service in order to increase profits and to select patients less likely to require services while rejecting patients who need them. This has proven much more difficult to control since it involves much more subtle forms of behavior. It is much easier to tell a provider that they will not be paid for lumber spine MRI in a patient who does not meet certain criteria than it is to figure out that providers are not offering MRI to people who actually need it or are avoiding covering people with history of back pain.
5.) THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT: I am always amazed at the discussions by American economists, political scientists, health care providers, health care theorists, and politicians about health care and the question of what will work. This discussion is similar to someone debating how to manage infectious diseases but pretending that they have never heard of antibiotics or that antibiotics are a strange and questionable development. The answers to how to make health care work are on the shelf. They have been discovered by everyone else in the developed world. They have been shown to work well in general and specifically to work much better than our system both economically and medically. We are at the bottom or near the bottom in terms of health care performance in the developed world and at the top in terms of health care costs by a wide margin. To deliberately pretend that there is a question as to what would work better than our system is to literally bury our heads in the sand. Conservative politicians of all stripes, and the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, HMO’s, medical equipment providers and others who realize huge profits from our current mess of a system (at the expense of both patients and the economy) are only too glad to encourage this behavior, but it is disappointing when people who should know better play along.



Posted by: Patrick Schoenfelder | July 27, 2008 at 07:39 AM
__________________

__________________
aenlighten is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 07-29-2008, 07:47 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ladelfina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,713
Amen to that..
__________________

__________________
ladelfina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2008, 08:22 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,614
It seems the least the government could do is eliminate the tax on cigarettes to increase the amount of smoking and get our health-care costs down. Heck, kill two birds with one stone--have a government program to hire unemployed people to go door to door to hand out free smokes. Call it the CCC :"Cigarette Consumption Corps" (or "Corpse").

And, use some clever marketing tie-ins to encourage other habits that might drive down health-care costs: Send in the UPCs from 20 packs of cigarettes to get a coupon for a Big Mac, 250 UPCs for a fifth of Old Granddad.

And, smaller lighter cars not only reduce our reliance on foreign oil, they help lower health care costs by killing folks rapidly and while they are young (before we've already paid for two knee replacements and 10 years of nursing home care). It's time to drop government safety standards for cars, raise CAFE to 50 MPG. Tax rebates for motorcycles. Scrap intrusive helmet laws--"Live free or/and die!"

It's about time we had a government program to encourage people to do things that they want to do anyway!
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 11:55 AM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
It seems the least the government could do is eliminate the tax on cigarettes to increase the amount of smoking and get our health-care costs down. Heck, kill two birds with one stone--have a government program to hire unemployed people to go door to door to hand out free smokes. Call it the CCC :"Cigarette Consumption Corps" (or "Corpse").

And, use some clever marketing tie-ins to encourage other habits that might drive down health-care costs: Send in the UPCs from 20 packs of cigarettes to get a coupon for a Big Mac, 250 UPCs for a fifth of Old Granddad.

And, smaller lighter cars not only reduce our reliance on foreign oil, they help lower health care costs by killing folks rapidly and while they are young (before we've already paid for two knee replacements and 10 years of nursing home care). It's time to drop government safety standards for cars, raise CAFE to 50 MPG. Tax rebates for motorcycles. Scrap intrusive helmet laws--"Live free or/and die!"

It's about time we had a government program to encourage people to do things that they want to do anyway!
Well said....
__________________
huusom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 12:19 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
I find it somewhat weird that this very reasonable article draws responses that are mainly skew to its main point- which is that we already know how to do a good job of health care, it's just that entrenched interests in America refuse to consider these well proven methods. Clearly insurers and health care managers are among the leaders of this blockage, but don't overlook the long and effective history of the AMA as a stopper on any improvement in patient care that might challenge MDs very high incomes.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 01:04 PM   #6
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
I find it somewhat weird that this very reasonable article draws responses that are mainly skew to its main point- which is that we already know how to do a good job of health care, it's just that entrenched interests in America refuse to consider these well proven methods. Clearly insurers and health care managers are among the leaders of this blockage, but don't overlook the long and effective history of the AMA as a stopper on any improvement in patient care that might challenge MDs very high incomes.

Ha
The fact that all healthy life style movements and the HMOs and health insurance companies happen just about same time cause me to think they are somehow connected.

Is it possible that insurance companies promote healthy living to maximize their profits then dump the olders and the sickers to Medicare and make the rest of us pay for it?
__________________
huusom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 01:12 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by huusom View Post
The fact that all healthy life style movements and the HMOs and health insurance companies happen just about same time cause me to think they are somehow connected.

Is it possible that insurance companies promote healthy living to maximize their profits then dump the olders and the sickers to Medicare and make the rest of us pay for it?
Possible, but there are other less involved explanations.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2008, 09:08 PM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
mark500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 146
Government run healthcare comes with a trade-off.
Forget about getting in to see the doctor right away for a non-emergent issue. Forget about getting that MRI soon for your non-eremgency painful knee. The wait time is about 277 days on average at Ottawa Hospital. Getting in sooner may depend on who you know.
Colonoscopy for colon cancer screening? Good luck. Want to see a specialist right away for a new illness? You will have to wait about 8 weeks. But 80% get in within 3 months.
Need a new knee? Half of patients get in within 7 months after qualifying. 10% wait 21 months.
And don't bother trying to get a hold of your internist on a weekend because you can't find you birth control pills and need a script quick.
All this may not necessarily be bad. But don't expect the same level of service you get now.
__________________
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.

Winston Churchill
mark500 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2008, 10:40 PM   #9
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,864
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
It seems the least the government could do is eliminate the tax on cigarettes to increase the amount of smoking and get our health-care costs down. Heck, kill two birds with one stone--have a government program to hire unemployed people to go door to door to hand out free smokes. Call it the CCC :"Cigarette Consumption Corps" (or "Corpse").

And, use some clever marketing tie-ins to encourage other habits that might drive down health-care costs: Send in the UPCs from 20 packs of cigarettes to get a coupon for a Big Mac, 250 UPCs for a fifth of Old Granddad.

And, smaller lighter cars not only reduce our reliance on foreign oil, they help lower health care costs by killing folks rapidly and while they are young (before we've already paid for two knee replacements and 10 years of nursing home care). It's time to drop government safety standards for cars, raise CAFE to 50 MPG. Tax rebates for motorcycles. Scrap intrusive helmet laws--"Live free or/and die!"

It's about time we had a government program to encourage people to do things that they want to do anyway!
Great Idea ! We could replace the Academy Awards with the Darwin Awards.. with most of the same faces in the crowd.
__________________

__________________
Westernskies is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ponderable Christmas "Facts" mickeyd Other topics 6 12-25-2007 02:22 AM
Healthcare is the issue for me Cubitt Hi, I am... 4 12-19-2007 08:29 PM
Do you know any amazing animal facts / stories? Peaceful_Warrior Other topics 9 09-03-2007 01:44 PM
The Cost of Healthcare. bugs8 FIRE and Money 7 04-05-2007 05:27 PM
Check Facts, Not Feelings Before Purchase haha FIRE and Money 2 08-06-2004 02:03 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:24 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.