Healthcare Reform

There is a ton of misinformation about healthcare reform being spread around.

I’ll try and put together some resources, and maybe riff a little myself on the subject sometime this week.

In the meantime, check out this quick illustration of my point by Paul Krugman.

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5 Comments on “Healthcare Reform”


  1. I’m so tired of the false stuff being written about healthcare reform from both sides. Depending on who you listen to, Canada either kills its citizens or it doesn’t. Either it costs too much or it doesn’t. Either they come to the US to get health care or they don’t.

    I’m trying to write a few things that I’m observing. Two things are driving me crazy as I investigate. It’s clear that US spends more on healthcare per capita than any other developed nation. And I’m not sure that I can see results. We seem less healthy than our peer nations.

    Lastly, I think that the wealthy and those with great healthcare plans (say unionized autoworkers) have the best health care in the world. 90% of Americans do not have that access. In other words, I’m not going to MD Anderson (no wait, they’re woo-pushers), I mean Mayo Clinic for cancer treatment, unless I’m writing a check.


    • Not everything is false, but lots is deceptively written.

      America has many of the “best” doctors in the world. So yeah, lots of prominent individuals from other countries come here for treatment. This just says NOTHING about the care the average person receives.

      All of the measures that say we don’t do well on healthcare are measures of average care, not “best” care.

      Cost isn’t straight forward. America isn’t Europe. In a bad way. We have alot more obese people, people with diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smokers. All of that adds up to alot of expensive medical conditions.

      Heart caths, bypass surgery, pacemakers, emergency surgeries, ER visits for chest pain, shortness of breath, pulmonary embolus, antibiotics for osteomyelitis because you didn’t take care of your diabetic feet, none of these things are cheap.

      Yet because most american’s don’t do well on the basics – eat healthy, exercise, don’t end up weighing twice your ideal body weight, take your meds to control your chronic illnesses (diabetes, hypercholsterolemia, hypertension) – we end up with a much higher proportion of very expensive patients, whose problems could have been prevented.

      On top of that, we deliver care incredibly inefficiently. I’m in the ER this month, and I’ve seen lots of patients who are in the ER for primary care complaints. The ER is expensive, a PCP is much cheaper. Yet they can’t get a PCP because they don’t have insurance!

      So instead of seeing a PCP, cheaply, and getting their prevenative, or maintenance care, I see patients present for ME to give them primary care, or worse, for me to take care of the major calamities that could have been prevented by followup with a PCP.

      Look, it’s alot cheaper for this country to pay for hypertension meds for everyone with high blood pressure, than it is for us to pay for the percentage of those people with hypertension who will get congestive heart failure if untreated.

      BP meds: As low as 12 dollars a month for complicated cases, maybe as high as 30-40 dollars per month, for life.

      Congestive heart failure: 1 million dollars, per year, for patients who receive a ventricular assist pump of any sort, hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for those who JUST get hospitalized multiple times per year.

      Statins, smoking cessation aids, PCP costs: on the high side, 100 or so per month

      Cardiac stents: 14000-16000 for the device, plus OR costs, hospitalization time, complications, rehospitalizations, etc, over the lifetime of the patient. not to mention that a percentage of these patients will progress to congestive heart failure, as mentioned above.

      Also, having treated quite a few unionized autoworkers in the past 2 months – their insurance sucks.

      Additionally, I may not be at Mayo Clinic, but I’m at a major cancer center (the major one as far as this state is concerned), we’re certainly among the world leaders for a number of oncologic conditions, and over half our patients are uninsured or underinsured, so that’s not generally true of “good” hospitals even if it’s true of Mayo.

      Honestly, cancer care is good most places you go, for most people. If you are uninsured, you might have a harder time. But even if you have a high deductible plan, you will hit it on cancer treatment. So long as you aren’t hit with recission, insurance should cover the rest after that point.

      The real problem is the slow bleeding of primary care. We can prevent so much cost by having a PCP handle the basics, manage the basics, and coordinate care with specialists where specialists are necessary.

      People complain that the Obama plan may take away their right to “choose their doctor” in that it may require a referral to see specialists (something that many insurance companies already require), yet this is an important limit. Most people shouldn’t be going straight to a specialist.

      Why, for example, call a dermatologist for your wart or rash when your PCP can handle it? It’s cheaper, he or she is more than capable of handling the problem, and the healthcare system benefits.

      Sorry this turned into a rant, my apologies if I offend!

  2. Papa Tales Says:

    It seems to me that all these serious discussions are of no use. Look at the conversation that is taking place about the health care debate – the concerns that people seem to have is about all the total lies which the right wing has so successfully spread. Even well educated people are mouthing the same nonsense. It is pathetic to see that there are so many uninformed and unintelligent people in this country. Maybe we get what we deserve.

  3. Denice Walter Says:

    Some people I know asked me to attend a town meeting our congressman is giving tonight and ask questions/speak- I just can’t, the hijacking of these meetings makes me way too upset-however, I just *called* my representative: explaining *why* I won’t attend,my support for him and Obama,why we need reform,etc.(his assistant agreed with me).I think the prez(and other liberals/moderates like my congressman)are getting very experienced at dealing with these so-called “grass-roots” groups since last summer’s campaign and later orchestrated reactions to governmental “interference” in our economic system (which probably prevented a depression).The opposition has a very limited playbook.I maintain an anxious hope that eventually reason will prevail, as it did in November.But I don’t think it’s gonna be easy.


  4. Cool site, love the info.


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