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Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Health Care Nonsense

As usual, Charles Krauthammer finds the truth instead of listening to the rhetoric. This time it's about the myth of preventive medicine saving money. More Health Care Nonsense (via Real Clear Politics) goes through the CBO's dispellation of the idea that preventive medicine saves money, as the President claimed in New Hampshire.

The conventional wisdom; which CK points out is wrong via math; is that if we provide the preventive care for everyone to keep them from having some disease, we save the money we'd have spent treating that disease, therefore saving money. Except, not everyone will get the disease in the first place.

So, if we take 100 people, and spend $500 on each for preventive care, it costs $50k. So long as five people are prevented from getting the disease, where the care costs $10k, then we've done okay. But if only 3 people are prevented, then we've spent $50,000 to save $30,000.

Here's part of what Charles published on this:

"That's a hypothetical case. What's the real-life actuality in the United States today? A 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. Elmendorf additionally cites a definitive assessment in the New England Journal of Medicine that reviewed hundreds of studies on preventive care and found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs."

Elmendorf is the director of the Congression Budget Office. A guy who's getting little love in Obamaland because he won't tow the line and say that the Democrat's health care reforms are going to save us money or make care better.

"In an Aug. 7 letter to Rep. Nathan Deal, CBO Director Doug
Elmendorf writes:
"Researchers who have examined the effects of preventive care generally find that the added costs of widespread use of preventive services tend to exceed the savings from averted illness."

Thanks Charles, for looking at the math, and past the rhetoric. We need more people involved in the debate over 15% of our economy who actually look at the costs of what's going on, instead of spewing skewed numbers.

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