healthcare capitalist style…

Dr. John Z. Ayanian, an associate professor of medicine and health care policy at Harvard Medical School, recently published a study that followed 5,158 adults during the “transition from being ineligible for Medicare to receiving Medicare benefits.”

The effect that emerged — a surge in the use of health care by those who were previously uninsured — was concentrated in people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Those are conditions, the investigators noted, in which treatment can prevent serious consequences that can require extra doctor visits, hospitalizations and expense. In the study, 2,951 of the 5,158 participants had one of those conditions.

When such previously uninsured people became eligible for Medicare, they had 13 percent more doctor visits, 20 percent more hospitalizations, and reported 51 percent greater medical expenditures than those with the same diseases who had had insurance all along.

Let the inevitable debate between health care officials and economists begin:

Louise Russell, a research professor at the Institute for Health at Rutgers states, “It shows how unfair our system is. These people were not getting care, and they were at least as in need of it as the people who were insured.” The costs associated with the “pent-up” need are astronomical. Could we possibly offset this by providing truly universal health care, maybe????

“Well, not so much” say the economists.

“The quick interpretation is, ‘Well this saves money,’ but it’s a partial savings,” said Mark Pauly, a health economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “You get some money back, but it’s still going to cost money.”

And let’s not leave out the ever-present group that wants to blame the poor for their “predicament.”

Dr. Mark McClellan, the former head of Medicare who is now a visiting fellow at the Brooking Institute pointed out that the uninsured where very different from the insured. They had much less education, their incomes were lower, they were more likely to smoke and to be depressed. And let’s top that broad generalization off with a final stereotypical cherry “the characteristics of the uninsured are also correlated with caring more about the present than the future. A trait like that, may lead to the need for more medical services down the road.”

Oh wait, it gets better.

“That does not mean that the uninsured do not need health insurance, but it does raise the question of what is the most effective way to provide it. For example, instead of just paying for doctor visits and leaving it to patients to find doctors and seek care, it may be better to also provide case managers who will contact patients and prompt them to take medications like drugs for high blood pressure or to report on their blood sugar levels if they have diabetes.”

Let me be sure that I am getting the basic premise here. The poor’s questionable judgement creates the conditions that resulted in the increase treatment upon becoming eligible for medicare. So, let’s not grant universal healthcare. I mean, they don’t deserve it right? Health care is only for people who live their lives by the same moral compass I do. Not the blokes who smoke or get depressed. And, OF COURSE, poor people do that more than the upper classes. Everyone knows that. Wait, wait hold on, maybe we could do something for them. It is clearly evident that they can’t take care of themselves; so, how about we make them go to case workers. Yeah, people more like us. They can “oversee” those poor people’s health care. Make them take their meds, my pharmaceutical company friends would love that. And you know, the caseworkers could help those poor misguided people make better decisions, you know decisions that we would make. Because that is the ethical standard by which all should be judged. Yeah, let’s look into that.

Christ, if the state of health care in America wasn’t so fucking pathetic, this would be funny. As it stands this is just a sad, sad commentary on how little progress civil rights has made in my homeland.


Bring water, bring wine, boy! Bring flowering garlands to me! Yes, bring them, so that I may try a bout with love. – Anacreon


~ by aikaterine on July 12, 2007.

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