Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Prevention Scam

Charles Krauthammer - Preventive Care Isn't the Magic Bullet for Health Care Costs -

Like most things in BOworld, his claims that "prevention saves money" are pure lies. Note that these are REAL LIES as opposed to fake lies like "Bush lied about WMD". Every intelligence service in the world was certain Saddam had WMD, it was common knowledge. When common knowledge turns out to be wrong, it is just wrong -- nobody "lied" about the world being flat, they were just WRONG. If BO doesn't know that spending a lot of money on thousands of people for preventative care costs more, he is is such a fool that he should resign -- if he does know and keeps saying it, then he ought to forced from office because he is a liar.

That's a hypothetical case. What's the real-life actuality? In Obamaworld, as explained by the president in his Tuesday town hall, if we pour money into primary care for diabetics instead of giving surgeons "$30,000, $40,000, $50,000" for a later amputation -- a whopper that misrepresents the surgeon's fee by a factor of at least 30 -- "that will save us money." Back on Earth, a rigorous study in the journal Circulation found that for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, "if all the recommended prevention activities were applied with 100 percent success," the prevention would cost almost 10 times as much as the savings, increasing the country's total medical bill by 162 percent. That's because prevention applied to large populations is very expensive, as shown by another report Elmendorf cites, a definitive review in the New England Journal of Medicine of hundreds of studies that found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs.

Should we do prevention? Sure, but we need to be aware that it costs money -- as to many things, so it is a TRADEOFF, not a panacea. The real world has very few panaceas -- BOworld seems to be loaded with them.