The EU

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Controlling Health Care Costs

For John, BLUFWork needs to be done on health care costs, but the prime focus must be on the health of the individual.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In Massachusetts, thanks to the 2012 health care cost containment law, we have a Center for Health Information Analysis.  They have issued their first report on total health care spending today.  It was reported on line by The [Lowell] Sun today.  The lede:
While consumers saw their health insurance premiums and benefit levels stabilize in 2013, overall state spending on health care in Massachusetts climbed to over $50 billion and efforts to move away from fee-for-service care "stalled," according to a new report.
While the article in The Boston Globe does not address the key issue of health care quality, the Sun article does. It quotes Center for Health Information Analysis Executive Director Aron Boros as saying:
"We don't have any compelling evidence that there's clearly higher quality associated with higher costs and so we continue to look at that," he said.
This is a key issue.  We need to be improving the health care for those who have existed without insurance for years and also the level of health care effectiveness for those with serious illnesses.  Saving money by constricting health care options for some is not the answer.  Nor is stopping our efforts to find new treatments.  Want to just abandon a search for a vaccine for Ebola?

I do agree there are areas for savings that are not being explore effectively.  The homeless is one such area.  Taking someone off the streets and putting them in an apartment can save tens of thousands of dollars a year for that one person.

Of course history has examples of successful cost containment.  Germany had its Acton T-4.

Regards  —  Cliff


Neal said...

What we are seeing unfold is that there is a cost for cost containment. When that becomes the main focus, all else is of secondary and thus irrelevant importance. On the Federal level, Obamacare has not improved the percentage of people NOT insured, but has caused the premiums to soar for those who have always been insured.

Sometimes, it is much better NOT to contain cost. In medicine, you get what you pay for. There was a time that surgeons were also barbers. I submit the cost of surgery was much less in those days......and some actually survived a close shave.

Raising Sunshine said...

If you look at the costs for medicine and the costs for drug development you will see a significant increase in the expense which corresponds to the year the FDA allowed pharmaceutical companies to start advertising their medicines on television and in magazines. The companies arguments to the FDA was that increased public exposure would allow for them to recover their research dollars faster than without. These arguments were flawed however, because they did not include accurate increased revenue streams adjusted for the cost of the advertising.

You may not have noticed but the cost for a television ad is expensive. The advertising has also increased the number of medicated hypocondriacs, the costs of the congeneric medicines and the medical malpractice insurance costs as everyone adjusts to pay for teaching the public about something they have not the education to correctly utilize the information.

Perhaps we should be teaching pharmacy, and medical course contents to high schoolers and undergraduates. Then these teenagers/young adults when they grow older will correctly understand when asking a doctor for a prescription medicine that the doctor fearing medical malpractice suit prescribes the medicine to the individual if a pseudo-medical-logical case can be made for it. After all we want them to make the best medical choices for their health, since the licensed medical physician, by then, will be irrelevant.