"A Cure for Healthcare Costs," in The American Conservative.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Alzheimer's Treatment Trends in UK Portend Higher Costs for US: A reminder, costly care is inevitable. The issue is whether we are wise enough to push for a cheaper cure.
Headline in the UK Telegraph: "Dementia sufferers 'abandoned', says Jeremy Hunt / Doctors are refusing to test for dementia because they think it is pointless while no 'cure' is available, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says."
Some will say that indeed, there's no point in knowing the full extent of Alzheimer's in the population of the US, too, because there's no cure. And so why spend money on treatment that might be minimally effective, or even ineffective? Many of these naysayers, of course, work at OMB, CBO, CMS, and the health public policy establishment. And so while "abandonment" is not the word that these bean-counters would use, it's the policy that they quietly support.
But others--including the vast majority of voters and the politicians who represent them--will say that we should do everything possible for AD sufferers. Not just because it's compassionate, but also because it's a political imperative, once the news of possible treatments gets out.
And finally, more treatment is smart. Smart, that is, because the more we identify and treat, the more likely we are to be able to turn whatever treatments we have into better treatments, and from there, into a cure. Of course, the proper utilization of big data would help a lot, in terms of getting quality feedback on the results of each patient's treatment, and all tweaks and improvements along the way.
In the meantime, if there's a wider-spread realization that AD treatments might be available, then surely most victims would want those treatments, both in the UK and in the US. So in other words, if the data here for the UK are also true for the US, then there's going to be a further spike in AD costs, as seen in Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and also private insurance. And that cost-spike will come, even if "deficit hawk" policy makers in DC made a deal to forbid it.
Posted by James P. Pinkerton at 8:21 AM
Monday, January 14, 2013
Bob Patterson, a veteran of the Bush 43 administration and a well-known conservative thinker and activist, put forth a bold agenda in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer. Here's a key part of it, taking note of the pro-medical cure efforts of Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), and encouraging Republicans to join with Andrews:
Posted by James P. Pinkerton at 10:37 AM
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Louis Woodhill, a Houston-based software entrepreneur/political activist/Forbes columnist, writes:
The right way (and, probably the only way) to reduce long-term Medicare costs is to find cures for the three major diseases of old age, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. The electorate would find a “serious medicine strategy” much more appealing than futile Medicare cost control initiatives.
Posted by James P. Pinkerton at 8:11 AM