Welcome to the “health care marketplace”:
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday it was all part of an illegal effort by Olympus Corp. of the Americas, based in Center Valley, Pa., near Allentown, to induce doctors and hospitals to buy its products: the pricey medical devices called endoscopes.
My ex is a nurse (and a damned good one, at that).
When I first met her, she was an OR nurse. The OR staff, including the doctors, at the little hospital where she worked at the time always looked forward to visits from pharma reps, because those visits meant free hoagies courtesy of Big Pharma.
This is called “unbiased evaluation of medical technology in the marketplace.”
Follow the link for the gruesome details.
In the Austin Statesman, Tara Trower Doolittle exposes the con inheret in the term, “health care marketplace.”
In my time on the editorial board, I’ve heard various groups attempt to explain that rising medical costs are due to a failure of families to research the costs or an inability to prioritize their spending. But when your child falls and her bone is unmistakably broken, there is no time to go online and compare costs for orthopedic surgery, there is no form to sign to require hospitals to use only “in-network” specialists, and I dare anyone to suggest that perhaps you cut back on the pain medication to cut costs. Saying “Nevermind, let’s not fix this arm today” is not an option.
Read the rest.
North Carolina has a new twist on the Privatization Scam.
I can see the outcome now: the rich will get richer and the sick will get sicker.
Bennett Cerf told the story of an American tourist who visited a little shop in the provinces.
Eventually, he picked up a wine skin, wandered over to the clerk, and asked, “What about water?”
The clerk gasped. “Water. Non non. Water rots the insides, water erodes the brain, water destroys!”
The tourist says, “So you mean I can’t put water in the wine skin?”
“Oh, monsieur, of course you can. I thought you were going to drink it.”
God forbid that health insurance should pay for (gasp!) health care.
After all, paying for health care may imperil country-club memberships for insurance CEOs.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tries to make sense of consumer health care prices and finds out that it can’t.
The right likes to fulminate about market forces and health care costs, as if someone whose doctor has admitting privileges at only one hospital, who is experiencing sudden chest pains, or who just fell of a ladder is in a position to stroll through the “health care marketplace” inspecting the wares.
Furthermore, comparison shopping for health care may indeed be contraindicated.
Wendell Potter explains that, when it comes to American health care, no, you are not getting what you pay for. Here’s a bit:
Americans spend more per capita on health care than people anywhere else in the world, yet outcomes in every other developed country are better on almost every measure, from infant mortality to life expectancy.
A big reason for that is our collective gullibility. We continue to believe what many politicians tell us, despite evidence to the contrary: that we have the best health care system in the world.
Similarly, we continue to be persuaded by insurance companies that they’re essential to the system and better than any government program could possibly be at controlling health care costs.
And we are still buying the pharmaceutical industry’s argument that if Americans don’t keep paying more for prescriptions than anyone else on the planet, drug companies—which have gargantuan profit margins—won’t be able to keep developing the drugs we need.
The California Franchise Tax Board has yanked Blue Shield of California’s non-profit status because, surprise, Blue Shield makes lots of profits. Blue Shield, natch, will appeal. Here’s a bit from the story:
“It also opens the door for us to challenge the tax exemption of a host of other not-for-profit companies that act as though they were for-profit companies by stockpiling cash and paying executives seven-figure salaries and having skyboxes,” said Jamie Court, president of Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog.
Court was referring to Blue Shield’s $2.5 million purchase of a skybox at Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers’ new home in Santa Clara. Blue Shield has called the skybox a business expense needed to increase sales.
I am mildly surprised that Blue Cross did not justify the skybox at the football palace as a treatment for acrophobia.
Science 2.0 republishes an article by Harvard professor Scott O Lilienfeld exploring fads and myths about autism and the treatment thereof. In it, he attempts to understand the increase in diagnoses of autism and offers this explanation:
In the case of the autism-vaccine link, the soaring increase in autism diagnoses over the past two decades is certainly a contributor. But there is growing evidence that much of this spike reflects two factors: increasingly lax criteria for autism diagnosis across successive editions of the official psychiatric diagnostic manual (DSM), and heightened incentives for school districts to report autism and other developmental disabilities.
There is therefore ample reason to doubt that the “autism epidemic” actually reflects a genuine increase in the frequency of the condition. But the dramatic rise in diagnoses has led many people to believe in shadowy causal agents, such as childhood vaccinations.
He goes on to explore how treatment fads and fraud spread. In the light of the recent measles outbreaks because of the actions of anti-vaxxers, the whole article is worth a read.