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Prostate Poop



June 24, 2009 – Comments (17)

Here at the Devoish BS Market Watch, it is our responsibility to investigate all things BS related, and keep our readers current on all BS developments.

This includes monitoring the volumes of BS generated by the healthcare debate. Last night we were watching c-span cover the the first tri-committee hearing on healthcare reform, and fortunately missed the complete failure to score by both of NY's major league baseball teams. At the 1hour and eight minute mark of the second panel discussion, our diligence was rewarded by the mention of the prostrate which as everyone knows is BS relevent by its proximity to poop outlets.

Oregon Reresentative, Cathy Mcmorris Rodgers, made the claim that the US for profit insurer healthcare system has a 92% survival rate for prostrate cancer, as compared to 51% for the UK's public system.

Holy Sh** I cannot write, so Holy Poop instead. This flies right in the face of other facts that indicate the public systems are better and less expensive. Facts like longer life expectancys, and better infant survivals, which while not conclusive of public systems being better, certainly also slam the door on most assertions that the US private system has better results.

This prostrate poop could be a game changer though, and certainly deserved investigation. So being old tech, we did not Bing or Bang prostrate cancer, we Googled it.

We learned that Rudy Giuliani also made a similar claim during the Republican primary which was disputed, which Representative McMorris Rodgers may not have heard about.

Rudy's October 2007 campaign statement was based on a report that 5 year survival rates for prostrate cancers using data from 1995-99 were substantially better in the USA than in the UK.

In 1990 the "twenty years ago" US healthcare system did something right. We began screening for prostrate cancers. The UK system did not.

Because the UK did not diagnose prostrate cancer until symptoms developed, patients were at risk and already in advanced stages of the disease when diagnosed and they did not live very long.

Because the USA screened, prostate cancer was diagnosed at early stages, long before symptoms develop and patients lived a long time after early stage diagnosis. Regardless of our ability to treat the disease.

Good for us.

In 1990.

Of course the road to better healthcare is a long one and where you are matters, as does which way you are moving, toward better or worse.

The UK began screening for prostate cancer in the late 90,s. A more recent study based upon data from 2000-2002 found that the UK 5 yr survival rate hade improved to 79% because they to, had begun diagnosing prostate cancer long before it became life theateing.

Good for them.

In 2002.

The fact that in the USA early prostate cancer diagnosis does not improve life expectancy, or prostate cancer outcomes is being used to suggest "cost savings" could be achieved by doing fewer screenings.

Bad for us?

In 2009.

The difference in death rate/100,000 between the USA and the UK is almost nothing, but slightly better in the USA, 23.6/100,000 to 25/100,000 based upon the most recent stats I could find.

The UK is also among the worst of the European national systems at prostate cancer.

In both countries more than 90% of those deaths occur in men over age 65.

My comment to Mr Guiliani;

I do not care which country I am diagnosed in, as the outcome is the same. I would rather be billed much less by the public UK system, or Single Payer H.R.676

My comment to Representative McMorris Rodgers;

Please learn to google, and use current information. If your facts are poor, your decisions will be too.

My comment to the Citizens of Oregon. Please buy Miss McMorris Rodgers a computer and internet connection if she does not have one. Collect taxes for it, don't use credit.

Here at the Devoish BS Market Watch, we are unconcerned as this is not new BS, but rather a repeating of old BS and should not affect BS volumes or market value.

Note to the United States Congress. The health insurance industry adds no value to health outcomes. It detracts.


17 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 24, 2009 at 1:56 PM, bcnu6 (30.11) wrote:

Who needs facts when one knows the truth?  Those pesky facts can be so inconvenient.

Or to twist Alfonso Bedoya's famous line: Facts? We ain't got no facts. We don't need no facts. I don't have to show you any stinking facts. 

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#2) On June 24, 2009 at 2:51 PM, Option1307 (30.50) wrote:


First off I wanted to thank you for staying on top of the health care reform issues. This is an important topic that needs to be adequately discussed regardless of your view point.

I am still going through all the details of HR 676 and other proposals that are currently out there, so I can't say too much at this time.

However from what I have read so far, I feel it is leaving out one huge factor. (To be fair, it cold be in there and I just havn't come across it yet, so let me know if it is.) Why is there no discussion about medical malpractice, specifically the capping of lawsuits? IMO this is another large factor why medical costs are so high in this country. So, in an effort to reform healthcare, shouldn't this importat point be addressed as well?

hat is your opinion about malpractice lawsuits, should they be capped?

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#3) On June 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM, FleaBagger (27.46) wrote:

Implying that U.S. healthcare is free market healthccare is sort of like implying that Oregon republicans are free market advocates. Or that Rudy Giuliani is a conservative. Straw Man. Still, there is something to be said for your observations:

US healthcare system did something right. We began screening for prostrate cancers. The UK system did not.

Care to take a guess why the UK wasn't screening for prostate cancer? If you guessed "because socialized medicine in the UK can't anticipate the needs of patients the way a free market system could (if there were a free market systemin existence anywhere)" then congratulations! You're promoted from Useful Idiot to Not Quite So Useful Idiot (or demoted, as you may see it).

See, in a government-run system (and like it or not, government-funded is always government-run sooner or later), patients get whatever government officials decree that they get. It's a tautism. The ones in chargesay what goes. You just uncovered a case where government health care (or single-payer healthcare, or whatever you like to call it) killed people. You can come up with similar examples in any democratic socialist nation, because no government is going to be perfect at deciding what to fund. At those decisions have to be made, because even though money is unlimited, the purchasing power it represents is not, and socialist nations are bankrupting themselves trying to pay for everybody's healthcare, even in countries where culture is such that people are relatively healthy to begin with.

I prescribe that you read an article here every day:

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#4) On June 24, 2009 at 3:13 PM, angusthermopylae (37.98) wrote:

Actually, Option1307, you bring up a question I've always wanted to ask: dollars, percentage, and per doctor, do medical malpractice suits actually add to the cost of health care?

Not "a lot," not "doubles," not "increases chance of being sued 10x."  I mean exactly, as an average or as an aggregate, and to which industries:  insurance, legal, and medical.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but I find the whole "malpractice suit" argument a little thin.  If it is actual payments made by doctors/insurers to recipients, then that can be divided up amongst the number of doctors out there.

If it is legal costs, then you can divide it up the same way.

But if it is the cost of malpractice insurance, then I believe it is a red herring...and should be dissected based on how much medical malpractice costs vs. the amount paid.

Saying "it costs too much to do something" because you have been screwed by your insurer is not a valid argument in my opinion.  It simply means that doctors need to turn around and kick their insurers butts first, then complain about medical costs.

(Sorry this came out so heavy.  I really do want to know the answer, but no one provides those details.  )

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#5) On June 24, 2009 at 3:53 PM, Option1307 (30.50) wrote:


Thanks for responding, you raise some valid questions which I do not have answers for currently. I will look into them as soon as I have more free time on my hands.

That being said, I can outline some general thoughts about why I believe this is an important aspect that should be addressed in any healthcare reform topic.

Currently there are no restrictons on malpractice lawsuits, meaning there is no real limit on the amount of money that can be awarded for "pain and suffering and/or punitive damages". I am not here to argue that doctors are perfect and without mistakes, they obviously make errors. The point is that these lawsuits often result in huge sums of money being rewarded to the plantiff. Huge sums of money.

As all insurace companies do, when the pay outs are large, the insurance premiums are large. Therefore, medical malpractice rates have sky rocketed the last 10 yrs or so. As rates go up, doctors have two basic options.

1) Keep prices the same and thus reduce their profit margin.

2) Raise prices accordingly to make compensate for the rise in insurance premiums.

Which one do you think they will choose if given the choice. Obviously this is a simplistic view of things, but I think it illustrates a serious point. As malpractice awards continue to grow in number and size, medical bills are going to grow proportionally as well. Thus, in the hope of reducing the cost of healthcare in the US, it only seems logical to discuss the issue of malpractice lawsuits as well.

Sorry for the rambling...

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#6) On June 24, 2009 at 4:38 PM, devoish (70.13) wrote:


Thanks for the pro/de motion. Did I get a rec?

Before you go misshaping an event to fit into your free-market religion, lets play your guessing game and consider other possibilities. Was prostate cancer less of an issue in the UK, in 1990? Did "for profit" really anticipate a need for screenings or did "liberal do-gooder activists" force them too. Perhaps those "do-gooders" even used big representative government to do so.


Believe me, I understand your frustration with a lack of real numbers. Here is the best I can do.

2% in 2002. But. Malpractic insurance paid to insurers is rising faster than fees paid to Doctors from insurers, so it is costing Doctors income. If I were to guess it is costing Doctors a larger percentage of their income, but probably not costing health insurers a larger part of theirs. Just a guess, not based in facts.

"For profit" insurance partially justifies higher insurance fees from us to them because of the higher fees charged from the Doctors, to other "for profit" insurance.


Thanks for the consideration. Now if you would just call 202-244-3121....

The bill does not address malpractice at all. However one point you make is incorrect.

40 States already have caps, so caps are likely to happen regardless of what I think and, actually 40 is almost enough that I could write a BS Watch post about the BS that we don't have caps. Canada has caps, substantially lower costs and "not for profit" malpractice insurance paid for by Doctors. Caps are ok with me, so is leaving it as a state rights issue (Ron Paul should approve). So is waiting and seeing if jurors lower payouts when cost of care does not have to be provided by an award.

The description of Canadian malpractice in the "3 Countries" link below will help.

This is from the PNHP website faq's on the issue:

What will happen to malpractice costs under national health insurance?

They will fall dramatically, for several reasons. First, about half of all malpractice awards go to pay present and future medical costs (e.g. for infants born with serious disabilities). Single payer national health insurance will eliminate the need for these awards. Second, many claims arise from a lack of communication between doctor and patient (e.g. in the Emergency Department). Miscommunication/mistakes are heightened under the present system because physicians don’t have continuity with their patients (to know their prior medical history, establish therapeutic trust, etc) and patients aren’t allowed to choose and keep the doctors and other caregivers they know and trust (due to insurance arrangements). Single payer improves quality in many ways, but in particular by facilitating long-term, continuous relationships with caregivers. For details on how single payer can improve the quality of health care, see “A Better Quality Alternative: Single Payer National Health Insurance.” For these and other reasons, malpractice costs in three nations with single payer are much lower than in the United States, and we would expect them to fall dramatically here. For details, see “Medical Liability in Three Single-Payer Countries” paper by Clara Felice and Litsa Lambkros.

David in Qatar asked me in another post how I felt after the Paulson and Bush pushed the bank bailouts through a reluctant Congress that heard the objections of more calls from citizens in two days than they probably get in two months.

Like I should have called one more time.



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#7) On June 24, 2009 at 5:06 PM, FleaBagger (27.46) wrote:

Steven (I actually looked at your profile page) -

Yes, you did, believe it or not. Also, I have a specific recommendation for you from

I think you will find that article very informative and easy to read. It helps explain why the 1930's were so hard for regular Joes even in years when the stock market or GNP went up.

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#8) On June 24, 2009 at 6:55 PM, angusthermopylae (37.98) wrote:


Thanks for the link--2% of medical costs are attributable to malpractice/insurance.  (For those who haven't read the link, within that 2% appears a whole ugly mess...but that's another story.)

Overall, I'm for a better health insurance system.  What we have works well for those with money/insurance, and doesn't work at all for those without.

On the other hand, I'm pretty skeptical about cure-alls and panacaea (sp?)...neither side is willing to admit that there are problems with their own approach, so subjects like malpractice insurance get me worked up due to its lack of transparency.

Thanks for the responses, devoish and option.  I am a wiser man for them.

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#9) On June 24, 2009 at 7:14 PM, Option1307 (30.50) wrote:


40 States already have caps, so caps are likely to happen regardless of what I think and, actually 40 is almost enough that I could write a BS Watch post about the BS that we don't have caps.

Wow I sure have missed your always friendly/civil comments, they really encourage people to have discussions with you about crucial issues...

I am sorry for not spelling out my thoughts more clearly. I grew up mainly in WA state where there is no cap for malpractice lawsuits. Next door in Oregon state, there used to be a cap on malpractice; however, it was overturned a few yrs back and now there is no longer a cap there as well. Earlier when I stated that there are not caps, I was refering to the areas that I know first hand. I should have been more clear.

Second, many claims arise from a lack of communication between doctor and patient (e.g. in the Emergency Department)...

Yes I completely agree.

 Single payer improves quality in many ways, but in particular by facilitating long-term, continuous relationships with caregivers...

 Umm what? This dosen't accurately describe the situation IMO. First off, the paragraph starts be discussing the lack of communication in the emergency room, I agree it exists, but to suggest that ER doctors are going to have a more continuous relationship with patients b/c of a single payer system is flat out absurd. How is this going to cause a better relationship in the ER exactly? You are not supposed to have a relationship with an ER doctor, that is what a primary care physician is for.

and patients aren’t allowed to choose and keep the doctors and other caregivers they know and trust (due to insurance arrangements).

Partially true and largely false.

As long as the doctor is part of your insurance network, you are allowed to stay with them for extended periods of time/forever.


My entire family is involved in the healthcare profession so this issue is personally important to me. As a future healthcare professional myself, I want nothing but the best for my fellow Americans in terms of healthcare. But this healthcare reform talk drives me nuts because I find that people/politicians are unwilling to discuss the actual problems and issues our medical system faces.

I hope you can have a civil conversation about this with myself and others Devoish, this issue seems to be important to you.

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#10) On June 24, 2009 at 10:11 PM, devoish (70.13) wrote:

The comment about posting a BS market watch on malpractice caps was supposed to be funny, and not intended to disregard it or malpractice as an issue. Insulting is reserved for those who know some states have caps and would choose not to share if it hurts their position. Not those who don't know or replied before they thought about it.

I take the ER miscommunication as an example of miscommunication that can happen when a Physician is rushed or not familiar with his patient.

Having a long term relationship with the same physician has pretty obvious advantages in quality of care. Single payer means you can keep seeing the physician, unless you choose to move miles away. With the current system you can lose your physician if he is removed from your plan, or if you change jobs and he is not on your plan. Some of that issue is called portability. Also under the current set-up cost savings are realized when a physician is pressured to spend less time per patient because of low fees. The physician then limits the amount of time he sees each patient for, and rushes through a check-up in order to see more patients. He may take all the correct steps, but not ask about new pets or jobs when adressing a skin rash. I don't believe the intention was to suggest seeing an ER doctor regularly.  :)

As a future healthcare professional myself I want nothing but the best for my fellow Americans in terms of healthcare. But this healthcare reform talk drives me nuts.

I believe you, and I believe most healthcare pros feel the same way. I do not believe an insurers commitment to maximizing company profits is aligned with that goal, and worse, stands in the way.

Talk that drives me nuts.

Look at Fleabaggers reply in this thread. He made up crap that he doesn't know, about why the UK didn't screen, which helps inspires the BS Marketwatch and my comment you took exception to. He holds government to the standard of "being perfect deciding what to fund" but allows the "free market" to fail and adjust, fail and adjust, based on economic theory of supply here, until there is demand there, and then supply there. If there is demand then the free market wasn't perfect either except by being held to a lower standard.

Fleabagger also points out that US healthcare is not a "free market" system, but then credits USA "free market" healthcare with anticipating a need for prostate screening that the Goverment run UK did not. In the same post. With the right buzzwords you could sell that guy anything.

What healthcare are you going into? And has your family seen H.R.676? Do they agree that having a panel of physicians set coverage and fees is better than insurance companys? Do they also see excessive paperwork from a variety of insurers has an unneeded expense? Have they had problems getting paid by insurers? Basically do they see the same problems that have caused 15000 doctors to join PNHP with thousands more nurses?

Recently my cousin visited his doctor for a treatment that is chronic. The doctor has been billing his insurance $500/treatment for two years. The most recent time he went the insurer refused payment. The Doctor billed my cousin. My cousin called the Doctor. The Doctors office told my cousin that it was the insurer doing a routine check to make sure the billing was legitiimate and that he should call the insurer and they would pay. My cousin called the insurer, confirmed the treatment and the insurer said they would pay. No issue right? Elapsed time from treatment to my cousin calling the insurer: 3 months. Three months the insurer beat the Doctor out of $500. three months the Doctor had to pay his bills without that $500. Three months the doctor had to roll $500 on his credit card at 7% expense to him. Three months the insurer had free use of $500 to sit in a money market getting 4%. If it was about checking to see if the billing was legitimate the insurer could have called my cousin the first day and then paid the bill. Right now, as of two weeks after calling them my cousin does not know the insurer actually paid the bill.

I understand that perfection is unattainable. I understand that Government will make mistakes. But Government's incentive is to deliver good healthcare. The insurers incentive is make as much money for themselves as possible.

Many people convince themselves that the insurers are incentivized to deliver a good product to build their business. It is not true. Insurance management is incentivized to collect the largest paycheck possible, until the business collapses and start anew with a clean name.

Exceptions to this rule exist, but cannot compete. If you are going to pay the Doctors quickly you have to charge more for coverage. Unfortunately people buy the less expensive plan.

If money is going to be wasted, and it is, no matter what is done, I would rather waste it with the Doctor.

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#11) On June 24, 2009 at 11:22 PM, Option1307 (30.50) wrote:

What healthcare are you going into? 

My brother and father are ER doctors, my mom is a nurse, and I am beginning medical school this fall. Yes, we really do love medicine.

miscommunication that can happen when a Physician is rushed or not familiar with his patient.

IMO this is one of the single largest problems that our current healthcare system faces. Communication is a key component in providing adequate medical services. It is vital in order to establish the "doctor patient" relationship. Without this relationship, without this trust, there is no real hope that a doctor will be able to provide sufficient help to the patient. When the foundation is faulty, there is little chance for the outcome to be solid, right?

IMO this lack of communication largely is a fault of doctors themselves. (Before people bi*ch, let me explain.) There once used to be a time when doctors made house calls and their patients were life long friends/neighbors. Physicians used to be solely concerned with the care of their patient. This is no longer the case. Recently we have been educating physicians to "solve the problem", from a scientific point of view only. While this is great in that complex problems, once impossible, are now being solved. There is very little attention given to the needs of the patient, holisitc medicine has gone out the window. Doctors are too concerned with fixing the medical problem and moving on, period.

a.k.a., commnication has become a secondary issue to most, not all, physicians these days.

Now this isn't only a fault of doctors. The medical education field is to blame as well. It swung too far to the side of pure science/medicine for too long. Only recently, <10 yrs, has it started to revert back to the mean.

Also to fault is the system itself, low reimbursement rates from medicare/medicaid/insurance encourages less communication and a higher turnover rate.

I strongly believe that if communication was better, there would be less waste in the system. Less irrelevant procedures, less errors being made, less missed diagnosis', etc.

But, this is a compelx problem that has no simple answer.

Look at Fleabaggers reply in this thread

I normally like what he has to say, and he may have a point if presented correctly. But I agree emotional responses are worthless and only hurt the healthcare debate.

And has your family seen H.R.676?...Basically do they see the same problems that have caused 15000 doctors to join PNHP with thousands more nurses?

I am familiar with HR676 and am learning more about it daily, thanks for the links. Although I am still not completely sold, need more info before I make a finally decision. I like certain parts, but others I am uncertain about. My parents on the otherhand, do not know much about it. Yes, they are very aware of current problems with the system, and yes they agree changes need to be made. We talk daily about medical issues and the future of medicine in the US. We discuss Obama's proposals etc, but this specific plan they are not very familiar with. Honestly, from what I have seen in the medical world, there is very little knowledge about HR676 out there. Most physicians that I have talked to lately do not know of it, or do not know the details. There is a lot of mis-information coming from both camps. I would say the majority of the medical world does not know enough to make a informed decision about this proposal. You mention that 15,000 doctors have signed onto this, seems like a lot but from what I could find, this is only about 2% of the doctors in the US. Thus I don't think there is a consensus amongst doctors that this is the correct solution.

One last point. Many doctors that I know are afraid of "socialized" medicine becuase of one general/broad point. Currently medicare/medicaid (read governemnt programs) only reimburse doctors/hospitals for about 35% on the dollar. To be fair, private insurance companies only have reimbursement rates of about 40-60%. Thus, doctors have a very negative view of government run healthcare programs, and with good reason. IMO I think many are afraid that if the government takes over, all reimbursement will be low, 20-30% on the dollar... You can't keep a hospital open on that low of a profit.

Sorry for the rambling.

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#12) On June 25, 2009 at 1:50 PM, FleaBagger (27.46) wrote:

First, Steve, I want to apologize for calling you a "useful idiot." Really and truly, I'm sorry I wrote that. It was a reference to the term of contempt allegedly applied by Vladimir Lenin to Soviet-sympathizing reporters from the West. I still think your view of socialism is naive, but the word "idiot" is an inappropriate thing to call someone regardless of historical reference and whatnot. Will you accept my apology? If so, then back to the question at hand...

We keep hearing that there is no simple answer, but there is: liberty. If we were free to choose what to do with our own money, free to go where we want for medical care, and free to profit from our actions, government wouldn't have to anticipate every health problem, every cost problem, everything that Steve (like so many others) is trying to help government figure out in this (now) very complex problem.

If your friend, let's call him "Fred," doesn't take good care of his body, how much responsibility to keep him alive does the state have? Should the government pay for his coronary bypass? How about a liver transplant if he's an alcoholic? Perhaps we can all agree no liver, but what if hospital resources (a bed, an OR) are funneled to him that could have gone to a congenitally ill little girl?

I know some of our single-payer advocates want to point out that this would happen in a free market system, too. Yes, that's true, but in a free market system, if my friends and I want to use our money to pay for that little girl's surgery, we may, and a doctor is at liberty to take our money to do it (or do it for free). Not so in a state-run healthcare system.

If the state decides that a certain amount of money is enough for a procedure, then that's all the money that will be spent on it. If inflation, or a freak accident, drives up the cost of that procedure, doctors will be unable to charge enough to cover their costs, and will stop doing that procedure altogether. This can lead to innovative new procedures (because of enterprising minds finding a way around government interference), but those procedures will often be very expensive, meaning that only the rich receive them, and that will likely get them banned, given the feelings that inform the demand for state-run healthcare in the first place.

If you have a free market system, you can always ask your neighbor or a charity for help paying for something. If the state restricts medicine (and resources are limited, so whatever it pays for it has to restrict), you don't have any choice. You have to take what they say you get.

In closing, let's revisit prostate cancer. Single-payer (socialist healthcare) advocates must believe that they can anticipate what people are going to need in the future. If they miss something, like prostate cancer screening, thousands die as a result. That wasn't because British bureaucrats are dumber than bureaucrats in America (or Sweden or anywhere else). It was because bureaucrats are not qualified to make medical decisions, but are required to, because they're responsible for funding, licensing - everything. 

If you think insurance bureaucracy is bad, or hospital bureaucracy is bad, why advocate government bureaucracy to replace them?

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#13) On June 25, 2009 at 2:08 PM, DaretothREdux (53.06) wrote:

Ahhhhh....the poop has returned.! You had to have gotten really stopped up there for awhile Devoish?...use laxatives they help...


P.S. I hope you stay regular.

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#14) On June 25, 2009 at 3:47 PM, Option1307 (30.50) wrote:

If your friend, let's call him "Fred," doesn't take good care of his body, how much responsibility to keep him alive does the state have? Should the government pay for his coronary bypass? How about a liver transplant if he's an alcoholic? Perhaps we can all agree no liver, but what if hospital resources (a bed, an OR) are funneled to him that could have gone to a congenitally ill little girl?

This is a giant moral question that is already a medical problem; however, it will undeniably become larger under a government run system. Essentially it comes down to the very basic question of "how much is someone's life worth".

Do we spend thousands of dollars on a heart transplant for a mid-20's healthy person? What about a herion addict off the street? Where is the cutoff and who decides? These are serious questions that need to be addressed, and IMO are not being talked about because they are political suicide...

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#15) On June 25, 2009 at 4:28 PM, Bamafan68 (98.08) wrote:

This has been a very thought provoking discussion.  As a disclaimer, I am in the medical field, so I have quite a vested interest in any changes in our health care system.  Any estimates of the costs of "defensive medicine"  are just that: estimates.  I do know that the threat of malpractice lawsuits looms over the entire profession.  In the obstetrical field, since the 70's we have utilized monitoring of the fetal heart rate to help us predict when a baby is in trouble, all in an attempt to better arm ourselves against potential lawsuits.  While such monitoring hasn't changed the rate of cerebal palsy (usually the most expensive jury award against obstetricians) one bit, it has raised the c-section rate from 15% to 30-40%, depending upon the part of the country.  According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the average expense of an uncomplicated c-section is $1900 higher than that of an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. In 2006, 4.3 million children were born.  You can do the math...

Anecdotally, I pay about $80K a year in malpractice insurance.  I have never been sued, so I have the lowest possible malpractice rate available here.  The median gross billings for ob/gyns in my part of the US are roughly $1.05 million, with a median collection percentage of 55%.  That means that direct malpractice costs to an ob/gyn are 13.9% of collected revenues.  To my mind, if the direct and indirect costs of malpractice are not addressed, health care reform is doomed to failure.

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#16) On June 25, 2009 at 11:06 PM, FleaBagger (27.46) wrote:

Option1307: This is a giant moral question that is already a medical problem; however, it will undeniably become larger under a government run system. Essentially it comes down to the very basic question of "how much is someone's life worth".

My whole point is that it is immoral for us put a price tag on someone else's life and put ourselves in a position to decide who lives and who dies. But those are decisions that we the voters have to make when we accede to lordship over healthcare. Like it or not, when we (or our elected representatives, or their bureaucratic lieutenants) take control of the money used on healthcare, we are responsible to make decisions about who lives and who dies, what a life is worth in dollars and cents, what the country's medical needs will be in the future. Any medical need we fail to anticipate, as devoish so plainly illustrated, means the deaths of scores, or hundreds, or thousands of our countrymen.

This is one of the easiest to spot of all the horrible unintended consequences of collectivism (socialism): government planners didn't anticipate the need for prostate cancer screening, and thousands went to early graves. (Okay, so it was prostate cancer: a bit earlier than necessary, anyway.) Most of the unintended consequences of collectivism (or mandatory single-payer systems, or whatever term you want to use to describe it) are not so obvious.

Steve, here's another article I would very much like you to read:

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#17) On June 25, 2009 at 11:41 PM, Option1307 (30.50) wrote:

 FleaBagger My whole point is that it is immoral for us put a price tag on someone else's life and put ourselves in a position to decide who lives and who dies.

I agree completely. To be clear, I am not advocating for a government run healthcare system, that is the last thing I would want to see. However, I do realize that someting needs to be done in order to alleviate some of the probles associated with our current sstem, and the answer is likely some form of compromise. That is reality.

Regardless, this fundamental question you mention above is already present in the healthcare system and it is only growing as, 1) technology imporves and 2) healthcare becomes more government run.

In a perfect world, every medical option would be excercised on everybody that walks in the door. In this eutopia, government healthcare would be great. However, as hard as it is to digest, this is not financially realisitic or even possible. This is not evil or unethical, it's just reality. As you mention, there is literally going to be a price associated with everyone's life and this is a very slippery slope once the government starts down this path.

The question now is, how do we decide who gets what?

Again, I think the best/most likely solution is likely somewhere in the middle. I am just trying to point out serious questions that need to be raised about government run healthcare, preferably before we get there. It's not all sunshine and lollipops as some suggest. To be fair, an absolute free market heathcare system is probably eqally as likely to have unforseen consequences as well.


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