Think preventive medicine will save money? Think again

Comments (18)
sylvan wrote:

As a Registered Dietitian, I can tell you outpatient nutrition counseling has never been reimbursed by private insurance or federal government, yet poor chronic nutritional intake of either too much or too little, is a prime underlying contributor to most of the expensive chronic diseases. Investing in nutritional counseling to change eating habits for appropriate patients could possibly save billions, yet dietitians remain the one component of the acute care healthcare team who are not reimbursed for outpatient care, and I believe our outcomes show that should change quickly. Nutrition education should start in elementary schools, and be taught at a biochemical level in high schools, but most curricula, and lunch programs, remain virtually nutrition-free, to our mutual disadvantage.

Jan 29, 2013 5:42am EST  --  Report as abuse
americanguy wrote:

“Feb 18, 2010 – Profits for the 10 largest U.S. health insurance companies jumped 250%”
“Jun 11, 2012 – The profit in the health insurance industry is the single greatest barrier to building an efficient, sustainable system of health care in this country.”
“the five largest insurers made record profits of over $12 billion.”
“The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.”

From The Mayo Clinic: “daily use of aspirin can have serious side effects”…”You should take a daily aspirin only if your doctor advises you to do so” (and this article says don’t go to the doctor for an annual physical).
From an insurance educational seminar “If you work for a health insurance organization, your clients may discuss the topic of CEO and executive management compensation.”

Beware the false prophets, and false articles too.
Preventative care would mean less profits up front, so most health insurance carriers will not pay for it. That’s the real reason. But they will pay for studies that give them an excuse to keep more money in their pockets.

Jan 29, 2013 7:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
GeorgeBMac wrote:

The article is flawed:

It is based on the assumption that preventive care is sourced from the same high cost, ineffective system that treats diseases. That is incorrect:

The best preventive care is provided by the individual for the individual and a high priced professional is simply not needed. But that requires education on how and why one should manage one’s health.

Examples: 90% of people think they need to pay a physician $100 to check their blood pressure. Yet, they can do that for free at a drug store.

Or, in order to check their cholesterol levels, they first must pay a physician $100 to get a script for a simple blood test.

And, most people do seem to understand the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise. In fact, the whole medical profession gives it lip service — but the system emphasizes the expensive tests over a simple healthy life style…

It’s the system stupid — and this article proposes more of the same.

Jan 29, 2013 8:31am EST  --  Report as abuse
BillDexter wrote:

Who gets the savings? The individual U.S. citizen? We get lower premiums for the insurance we choose to purchase? Of course not. This article assumes that we are no longer free, self determining citizens participating in a free market but instead victim/clients of a socialist government’s authority with no say in our own care.

Okay. So, assuming that, now we need to realize ‘savings’ in healthcare. So, preventative care, right? The government will tell us what to do for our own good under the auspices that it is for the greater good: the overall cost. This, by the way, from the Democrats who insist that they are NOT socialists.

Anyway, for preventative care and savings we will be told what to do and not do in order to prevent disease. Question: at what point would we kick a healthy person off Obamacare and pocket the savings? This is what we intend in order for preventative care to translate to savings, right? No? So, a healthy 90 year old will STILL go into a nursing home and receive care for glaucoma, dementia, arthritis, etc. etc. even AFTER we prevented obesity, heart disease and diabetes? So, how did we save money?

Everything the liberals say to steal personal freedom and destroy free markets is a lie.

Jan 29, 2013 8:46am EST  --  Report as abuse
r.felder wrote:

I completely agree with Sylvan. Our eating habits are directly related to heart disease and diabetes, out two biggest health care costs. Changing our diets would not only elimiate mass suffering, it would save billions. And guess what? NO DOCTORs OR DRUGS NEEDED!!!!

Jan 29, 2013 8:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
MJGSimple wrote:

americanguy is exactly right. Just look at the Big Pharma investment in statins. Long shown to have more adverse effects than real benefits, the industry continues to push statins even when there are viable alternatives!

The biggest obstacle to quality and cost-saving healthcare in the US is profits.

Jan 29, 2013 9:54am EST  --  Report as abuse
Robocop5626 wrote:

The article does link any actual savings to preventative care being provided outside the normal medical treatment channels. As far as health screenings, most people CAN check their blood pressure in a drug store. The problem is they have no idea what the numbers indicate or what action they can undertake to make changes. Having done several dozen health screenings for cholesterol, I found after writing the results on their take home final paper, which contained several paragraphs of explanation for each reading, they all invariably looked at me and asked,”What do these numbers mean?”. They didn’t read, or even scan, the paper handed to them. They wanted it explained to them so they could ask questions. The only real benefit to insurance is to adapt the cost to reflect the lifestyle choices made by the consumers. Obese sedentary smokers should pay quadruple what a vegan marathon runner pays.

Jan 29, 2013 10:55am EST  --  Report as abuse
Robocop5626 wrote:

The article does link any actual savings to preventative care being provided outside the normal medical treatment channels. As far as health screenings, most people CAN check their blood pressure in a drug store. The problem is they have no idea what the numbers indicate or what action they can undertake to make changes. Having done several dozen health screenings for cholesterol, I found after writing the results on their take home final paper, which contained several paragraphs of explanation for each reading, they all invariably looked at me and asked,”What do these numbers mean?”. They didn’t read, or even scan, the paper handed to them. They wanted it explained to them so they could ask questions. The only real benefit to insurance is to adapt the cost to reflect the lifestyle choices made by the consumers. Obese sedentary smokers should pay quadruple what a vegan marathon runner pays.

Jan 29, 2013 10:55am EST  --  Report as abuse
Jameson4Lunch wrote:

Chemo can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars very quickly, and only increase survival rates by 2-6%.

We have a treatment for nearly everything that ails you, but most treatments are only marginally more effective than allowing nature to take it’s course. A good diet would make more difference than a pill in many cases. But, when the government will subsidize those pills, and you have a drug lobby more powerful than any other group in Washington, the only ‘improvements’ we’ll likely see are new pills.

Jan 29, 2013 11:17am EST  --  Report as abuse
cbj wrote:

From a strict numbers point of view it is clear that the article is correct. It is the title that may be missleading.
For instance “Global screening of the population for disease proves to be cost prohibitive” is closer to the point of the article but then who would read it?

Jan 29, 2013 11:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
jrj906202 wrote:

It seems like most idiot,lazy Americans would rather go on paying high prices for healthcare and healthcare insurance,rather than taking better care of themselves and relying on,what should be their primary doctor,their own body.

Jan 29, 2013 11:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
FrmCali wrote:

Sylvan is correct. Dietary practices will prevent and can actually reverse diabetes and heart disease. Preventive medicine must not be defined only as getting tested for disease. The definition of preventive medicine must be inclusive of all preventative health practices including, but not limited to dietary and nutrition, smoking prevention and cessation, and proper frequent physical activity. If these changes are made then there will be reduced visits to the physician’s office and less spent on medications and medical services. Think less insulin, blood thinners, high blood pressure medications, bypass surgeries,stents,cat scans,etc.

Jan 29, 2013 12:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
FrmCali wrote:

Americanguy, physicians and big pharma do not want people to stop getting sick by eating right, not smoking, and getting a proper amount of exercise because then people will need their services and products less, taking the profits in medical care to lower levels. That is the problem with medical care; it is a profit incentive system, that promotes more and more need for its products and services. Staying healthy does not mean going to the doctor frequently to get tested and treated. It means living a healthy lifestyle.

Jan 29, 2013 12:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
oregun wrote:

Exercise greatly improves health and helps Type II diabetics live healthy lives without other treatment. Bus routes should be extended to parks to encourage exercising in a pleasant environment.

Jan 29, 2013 12:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BillDexter wrote:

Robocop5626 & FrmCali, I don’t know how old you are but I remember when politicians were outraged that private insurance would increase premiums and/or limit benefits for people with ‘pre existing conditions’. The government stepped in and forced the insurance industry to stop. Are you now proposing a return to free market forces, where being unhealthy would cost you more because the insurance providers would have to charge YOU more to keep other’s premiums down? -like things were BEFORE the government got involved?

Jan 29, 2013 2:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Preventive_MD wrote:

This article is very misleading. The majority of things noted as costing more than they’re worth are not currently recommended as standard of care because of just that fact: they aren’t worth it. On the other hand, those things noted as being cost-effective, are the same ones that are currently standard of care. It’s like saying “It has been proving that dieting doesn’t work to lose weight and be healthy. See, this diet where you only eat steak and potatoes actually causes people to gain weight.” When the reality is, no one is recommending people to just eat steak and potatoes. They are recommending the Mediterranean diet that actually lets people reach their goals.

Jan 29, 2013 2:43pm EST  --  Report as abuse
FrmCali wrote:

BillDexter, No, I am 62 and do not visit the doctor often. I agree that the profit incentive system extends to the medical insurance industry, where they only want to insure the healthy, because it is more profitable the insuring the sick. Other than the fact that we are a sick nation because of lifestyle habits that can be corrected without the help of physicians, I believe that profitability should be limited in all areas of the health care system, including insurance and care. The Health Care Affordability Act does not go far enough in limiting insurance companies and health providers ability to profit from the care of the infirm. But the argument that preventative care will not decrease health care spending as a part of the GDP is a straw man argument. The author is assuming that preventative care means only further testing buy physicians, not cost effective prevention such as dietary care, smoking cessation, and the value of daily physical activity. No doubt, however,that the profit motive in the health insurance industry is part of the exorbitant cost of the overall health care cost equation.I pay over $3600 per year to participate in my wife’s health care plan, with the highest deductible in the plan(she works in a hospital by the way). Yet, if I were to be diagnosed with cancer and get treatment, we will go bankrupt.

Jan 29, 2013 3:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
FrmCali wrote:

So therefore, BillDexter, I agree that the healthcare industry should not be allowed to operate in a totally free market system. That is the problem with it now.

Jan 29, 2013 3:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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