Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just don't pay attention to the cost

Yup, that's it. Don't look at the price tags. Isn't that a good way to go broke? This is not logic to me at all. And I hope its not to anyone else but apparently its a reality in evaluating health insurance costs.

So I was reading this article this morning which compares and cynic's version of how health care costs will out strip the average American's total income vs the version of how managed care is reining in costs and that is not true. Fine everyone can agree to disagree and life goes on.

Then I got down to the end of the article and figured out how we got into this mess in the first place:

"A wild card in all this is the Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare.” Critics say expanding health insurance to cover another 30 million people will send costs through the roof. But ACA supporters point to provisions meant to slow or reverse the growth in spending - especially an emphasis on preventive care, which is supposed to reduce the need for expensive hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

DeVoe says the ACA is a “great first step, but it’s not enough to get us where we need to go in terms of sustainability.”

Co-author Dr. Richard Young, who runs the country’s largest family practice training program, at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, points out that the new federal “comparative effectiveness” program - meant to compare the benefits of different treatments - is explicitly forbidden from considering cost, just as Medicare is forbidden from denying any “medically necessary” treatment, no matter how high the cost, or how small the medical benefit.

Young put it bluntly in an interview: “Until we’re willing to say 'no' to somebody, anybody, there is nothing to stop this inflationary pressure.”"

Yes I believe in the value of the human life but you can't disregard the cost factor in evaluating a treatment protocol. This creates no back pressure on the drug and medical device manufacturers to control their costs. Hello! Wake up and read the damn price tags.

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