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May 24, 2011

Old And Busted: We Need To Do More Screening To Save Money On Health Care
New Hotness: Hey Docs, Shut Up About All Those Expensive Screenings

Bait and switch.

During the health care debate Obama and the Democrats went on and on about how great screenings and preventative medicine would be to keep costs down. Now, it was pretty clear to everyone not trying to shove health care "reform" down Americas throat that was not going to pan out.

Now liberal wunderkind Ezra Klein has decided that all these screenings are going to cost way too much and not provide enough benefit. What's a good liberal to do when their talking points run into cold, hard reality? Admit that maybe they aren't that smart and perhaps should be a bit more humble about their ability to control the health care decisions of hundreds of millions of Americans? Of course not. Obviously the solution is to have doctors stop talking to patients about available options.

So if youíre anything like me, take a moment to think about how much you donít want to believe that lung-cancer screenings or breast-cancer screenings may not actually work. And then think about trying to convince yourself they donít work when your doctor is strongly urging you to get screened.

Thatís why, if you want to control health-care costs, you somehow need to convince, incentivize or otherwise conscript doctors into doing it for you. Robin Hanson can write as many blog posts as he wants, but as long as doctors are telling scared and uncertain patients that they need to get screened, theyíre getting screened. The moment they stop telling patients to get screened, screenings will plummet. In health care, doctors are really the relevant decision-makers. And right now, they donít have the evidence to make good decisions nor the incentives to make cost-effective decisions.

Remember this line from Obama's big health care "reform" speech to Congress?

And insurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies -- (applause) -- because there's no reason we shouldn't be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse. That makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives.

Now, having gotten their law passed, the technocrats want to "convince, incentivize or otherwise conscript doctors" into shutting up about the very things they were talking up as part of their sales pitch.

It's like liberals have no clue what they are doing but are ready to boldly and persistently experiment with your health. And if some people don't get the right treatment while the experts tweak and refine their formulas...well you know, eggs and omelets.


digg this
posted by DrewM. at 07:01 PM

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