nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Couple Of Health Care Myths

I hear these things so often it's driving me crazy.

Myth #1:  Preventive health care will lower cost.

Ask yourself, which costs more:  the person who dies young, or the person who gets great preventive care and lives to be 85, needing health care for multiple chronic diseases for the last 30 years of their life?

With all intended sarcasm, if you want to lower health care costs to the minimum, let people die immediately after birth.

Now, it's true that for specific disease care, like breast cancer, it's cheaper to prevent the disease than go through all the expensive surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.  (duh...not having to treat a disease is cheaper than treating a disease.  What an insight!)  But that person's total lifetime healthcare cost could still be over the top, treating the arthritis, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, hardening of the arteries, and high blood pressure that so many people suffer from when they live longer (and don't get breast cancer).

And this is where the money is.  The money you save by not having to treat breast cancer is peanuts next to the money spent to maintain a person who lives longer and needs chronic care.  Even if you add up all the treatment for specific disease care it doesn't add up to what it costs for the chronic disease care you created by saving lives.

Prevention is good medicine; that's why we should do it.

But, "Prevention Lowers Cost" is BS.

Myth #2:  People in countries with government health care live longer than in the US.

This one is infuriating, because the people who publish this tripe cook the data.  The implication, of course, is that they live longer because they have better health care under their system.

But it's not true.  The way you lie with these statistics is to include deaths that occur unrelated to health care.  Specifically, you include data on homicide and auto accidents.  Those two causes of death have nothing to do with how good your health is.  In fact, if you look at those two types of death alone, the survival rate per event is much higher in the US.

But, when you take homicide and auto accidents OUT of the data from all countries, guess which country lives the longest.  Yep....the US.

[That doesn't mean we don't a have a big problem with violence and auto accidents, but we need other solutions to those]

So, "People With Universal Gov't Health Care Live Longer," is also BS.

The funny thing about myths like these?  The real answer is in the data, but unless you go look it up for yourself, you may be influenced by unreliable sources and political advocates.

For homework, figure out why government healthcare advocates claim that infant mortality is higher in the US.  Hint: In the US, every baby that's born with either a heartbeat or spontaneous movement is considered a live birth.   (for the answer, go here.)

Doc D


james gaulte said...

It is amazing and frustrating how widespread and generally believed those lies are.Thanks for setting the record straight.

Doc D said...

Spin is a political art form. Thanks.

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