Health Care savings

D.W. Drang of The Clue Meter linked to this CBS editorial on the current health care proposals.

Dan McLaughlin provides an excellent exploration of exactly why none of the proposals being bandied about right now will lead to any savings.

It is pretty interesting that CBS chose to publish this piece. More signs that the Obama-Media love affair is cooling?

But I wanted to point out a couple of very good points made in the piece itself.

One of the fallacies repeated ad-nauseum by the nationalized health care camp is that, if we increase prevention, we’ll reduce overall costs. On it’s face, this seems to make sense…prevent expensive diseases by using inexpensive checkups and preventative measures right? Mr. McLaughlin completely devastates this silly misconception:

Think of it this way. Assume that a screening test for disease X costs $500 and finding it early averts $10,000 of costly treatment at a later stage. Are you saving money? Well, if one in 10 of those who are screened tests positive, society is saving $5,000. But if only one in 100 would get that disease, society is shelling out $40,000 more than it would without the preventive care.

That’s a hypothetical case. What’s the real-life actuality? In Obamaworld, as explained by the president in his Tuesday town hall, if we pour money into primary care for diabetics instead of giving surgeons “$30,000, $40,000, $50,000″ for a later amputation – a whopper that misrepresents the surgeon’s fee by a factor of at least 30 – “that will save us money.” Back on Earth, a rigorous study in the journal Circulation found that for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, “if all the recommended prevention activities were applied with 100 percent success,” the prevention would cost almost 10 times as much as the savings, increasing the country’s total medical bill by 162 percent. That’s because prevention applied to large populations is very expensive, as shown by another report Elmendorf cites, a definitive review in the New England Journal of Medicine of hundreds of studies that found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs.

Whatever else can be said for more preventative care, it is likely to offer no great cost savings.

Another aspect of this that he briefly touches on but doesn’t really expound upon is the fact that any proposal espousing preventative care as a cost saving measure discounts the fact that we are human and are, therefore, mortal. In order to reach these cost savings, the proponents of preventative care must assume that, since most instances of disease will be prevented, the majority of us will live long, productive healthy lives until we one day just drop dead out of the blue.

Preventative care may prevent diabetes sufferers from experiencing some of the complications that goes with that disease, but how is that going to prevent them from later getting cancer, Alzheimer’s or heart disease?

We’re human. Long-term, our mortality rate approaches 100%. Preventative care may prolong life and it may make for better quality of life during that extended period, but it just means that we go through those expensive, debilitating medical conditions at a more advanced age. We cannot escape from our mortality, nor from the expenses that said mortality entails.

To imagine that “preventative care” is some magic bullet that will ensure that few will suffer through debilitating, expensive, illnesses is nothing more than further utopian pipe dreams from professional utopians.

The other thing I wanted to point out was just what I thought was an interesting and entertaining way to phrase something that should be self-evident to anyone with a brain in their head:

If we added 47 million more people to the health care system, there would be lines. We wouldn’t even know how to send 47 million more people to McDonald’s without causing lines.

I’m unfamiliar with the details, but apparently there is some provision in Obama’s plan that expands the number of doctors, nurses, hospital beds, etc., to instantly accommodate 47 million more people. It usually takes eight to ten years to school a new doctor, so whatever the Democrats are doing here is a major advance.

It’s a fairly long piece (look at me talking) but it’s worth the time to read the whole thing.


1 thought on “Health Care savings

  1. The Tidewater Libertarian Party is, of course, opposed to the Dem Health Care takeover, but we felt that simply opposing a socialist approach would be tantamount to endorsing the status quo, which we do not.

    So, we have adopted and alternative plan, posted at if you are interested.

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