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.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Oh Woe! What Shall We Do With Medicare/Medicaid?

Everybody agrees Medicare/Medicaid reform is essential to avoiding economic meltdown.  But how?

Human nature being what it is, the citizenry is showing great political will to place our financial house in order, and to do it by controlling particular, government spending.

As long as they personally aren't adversely affected.

Not possible.

Controlling federal spending is a tough thing to do when incentives to spend for one's constituency are combined with the power to print money.

For what it's worth, I found the table below that compares two different plans to bring down Medicare/Medicaid costs.  The descriptive information is pretty good, but the arguments for and against are incomplete and slanted.

If the graphic is not readable in this post, click here to go to the original.

From the New England Journal of Medicine, Apr 20, 2011

My complaints about the arguments for-and-against are the following:  (1) incentives to reduce cost lose effectiveness over time, (2) government is the main driver of health care costs not industry or providers, (3) competition (which we have not had in health care for decades) is an effective measure when implemented properly, (4) increased cost sometimes is a good thing--forcing people to prioritize health care appropriately to their situation, and (5) some people are disciplined enough to use health savings accounts others are not (usually because they expect somebody else to pick up the tab).  I could go on...

My advice to the government is to quit playing ideological games and try all these methods.

But let reforms prove themselves first.

Doc D

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