Archive for July, 2009

The Hidden Costs of Health Care

Posted on July 22, 2009. Filed under: Affordable Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform |

The New York Times this morning points out the hidden costs of health care in an article called “Challenge to Health Bill: Selling Reform.” Among the highlights:

“Our health care system is engineered, deliberately or not, to resist change. The people who pay for it — you and I — often don’t realize that they’re paying for it. Money comes out of our paychecks, in withheld taxes and insurance premiums, before we ever see it. It then flows to doctors, hospitals and drug makers without our realizing that it was our money to begin with.”

“… health care will cost the typical household roughly $15,000 this year, including the often-invisible contributions by employers. That is almost twice as much as two decades ago (adjusting for inflation). It’s about $6,500 more than in other rich countries, on average.

“We may not be aware of this stealth $6,500 health care tax, but if you take a moment to think, it makes sense. Over the last 20 years, health costs have soared, and incomes have grown painfully slowly. The two trends are directly connected: employers had to spend more money on benefits, leaving less for raises.

“In exchange for the $6,500 tax, we receive many things. We get cutting-edge research and heroic surgeries. But we also get fabulous amounts of waste — bureaucratic and medical.”

Read the whole story here.

–Posted by Cyndi Hughes

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Another’s Doctor’s View

Posted on July 15, 2009. Filed under: Affordable Health Care, Current Events, Health Care Reform, Preventive Care | Tags: , , , , , , |

The Doctor by Sir Luke FildesA must-read: This piece by Dr. Abraham Verghese in the Wall Street Journal: “The Myth of Prevention.” Inspired by Sir Luke Fildes’s 1891 painting, The Doctor (right).

More thoughts on this to follow!

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The Prostate Dilemma

Posted on July 13, 2009. Filed under: Affordable Health Care, Cancer, Preventive Care, Prostate, Recommended Medical Guidelines | Tags: , , , , , , |

Even the medical community can’t seem to agree about prostate screenings. In March, after a U.S. study suggested that screening for prostate cancer does not reduce death from the disease, a bigger European study suggested that screening can lower the death rate as much as 20 percent. (Both studies were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.)

Then in April, the American Urological Association issued new guidelines lowering the age recommended for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening from 50 to 40 years.

Peter R. Carroll, professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Urology at the University of California, San Francisco, and chair of the AUA guidelines committee on PSA screening, said: “There is no patient for which there is no (more…)

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