Be sure to follow me on Twitter @leftiblog

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Today's most important news story - it's not what you think

The State of the Union address? The introduction of the iPad? No, this:
Increased co-payments for doctor visits boost health-care costs for seniors
Obama is constantly talking about "controlling health care costs." Note that he doesn't use the word "profit" (which really should be controlled), but "costs." What does that really mean? What it means is somehow discouraging people from getting medical care, that's what it means. And what is the practical effect? This:
Increased cost sharing [higher co-pays] led to nearly 20 fewer annual outpatient visits to the doctor's office per 100 enrollees. But annual hospital admissions grew by 2.2 per 100 enrollees. The higher price for outpatient care also led to 13.4 [more] annual days in the hospital per 100 enrollees.

Trivedi and the other researchers found the effects of higher co-payments for outpatient care were particularly magnified among lower income senior citizens and among patients who had hypertension, diabetes or a history of heart problems.
The study doesn't say anything about deaths, but anytime people are deferring care, and ending up in the hospital as a result, it's a safe bet that somewhere along the line, someone is dying who wouldn't have, had they received timely care.

Here's how you really "control costs" in medical care - with a single-payer system, that not only simply offers medical care to those who need it, but also trains enough doctors that they can afford to do this:

During these 15 years of work in Haiti, the Cuban doctors have attended to close to 6 million patients free of charge, almost all of them in the same communities where they live. All in all, 14,446,829 doctors’ visits have been performed, including more than 110,390 babies who were delivered by Cuban doctors and 228,238 people who have received operations.

Another milestone was the startup of the Operation Miracle program that provides free corrective eye surgery to those in need. Operation Miracle began in Haiti in 2005 with an extensive medical survey of the population and then in September of the same year, the first patients arrived to Cuba to receive operations.

Today, more than 155,773 Haitians have received free eye surgeries for cataracts and other eye diseases.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com High Class Blogs: News and Media