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More Healthcare Lies

Sullivan has posted this infographic on why our healthcare cost so much. I have rarely seen such a huge a stack of healthcare lies collected in one place.

  • They claim that America’s obesity rate is not driving our healthcare costs, only accounting for $25 billion in spending. If that’s the case, someone needs to tell the CDC, which has estimated obesity to be responsible or at least 10% of our healthcare spending and projects it to eventually cause 20% of our spending. Obesity is a primary risk factor for heart disease, something we spend a lot of money on. Lipitor alone is a $7 billion expense.
  • They claim malpractice isn’t driving healthcare costs, only being responsible for 2% of spending. This ignores defensive medicine. Now I’m aware that Haav-vud has estimated defensive medicine to be a tiny expense. But their lawyer-friendly study is far far too conservative. The Kessler study estimates 10% and I would even say that’s conservative. A huge amount of our healthcare spending is for end of life care and a huge driver of that is the fear of lawsuits. Many procedures and tests that are considered “routine” would not be without lawsuit threats. Additionally, the effect of malpractice is not linear. For hospitals, it’s a small part of the budget. For practicing physicians — especially OB/Gyn’s — it can cost more than the rent on their office.
  • They then say that providers charge more because they can — true enough — because the US government is not involved in price regulation. So Americans have “less power” over healthcare costs. I’m not going to re-open the price control debate again. It’s too complicated for a group this stupid. But I will note that there are other ways for consumers — not “the people” to have power over healthcare costs.
  • They complain that admin costs are 21% of our healthcare bill — twice what other countries spend and that 85% of this is due to private insurance. This tells me that they are buying the lie — and it is a lie — that Medicare’s costs are only a tiny fraction of the private sector. Keep in mind, this is the Medicare that is currently spending 20 cents on the dollar on fraud — a problem that they perversely try to blame on the private sector.
  • They complain that 41% of healthcare costs are for outpatient procedures. But outpatient procedure usually save money. They specifically site the example that 60% of UK hernias are treated inpatient, but only 11% of US hernias are treated inpatient. What?! Treating a hernia — usually not really an optional procedure — is MUCH cheaper done as an outpatient. Outpatient procedures save money. And lots of it.
  • Finally, they say are doctors are overpaid. I’ll leave that talking point for the class.

Sullivan should embarrassed to have posted this on his site. It’s quite clear that the people who put this together have an agenda and have resorted to distortions of fact that would make Michael Moore blush. This isn’t adding to the debate. It’s setting it back twenty years.

8 comments

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  1. Rann says:

    But I will note that there are other ways for consumers — not “the people” to have power over healthcare costs.

    Hm. That starts bringing to mind that in some minds, the people are a distinct (and often seemingly unwanted) different thing than The People.

    Finally, they say are doctors are overpaid. I’ll leave that talking point for the class.

    Always an interesting viewpoint. Teachers, who could technically do their job simply by reading out of a well-written book, are underpaid. Doctors, who are going to be performing precision alterations to your internal organs, are overpaid.

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  2. Miguelito says:

    Not to mention the doctors have devoted years of time and money to learn the skills and get the license required to even be able to practice medicine.

    That one really smacks of “to each according to his needs..” to me.

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  3. Miguelito says:

    Agreed that the attempt to say outpatient procedures is costing too much simply because of the percentage of medicine done as outpatient is pathetically stupid. The reason we can do so much outpatient is because the procedures have been perfected to the point that they don’t require hospitalization in every case just to make sure you don’t die from the side-effects or due to how invasive the procedure is (or was really).

    If anything, it’s actually another example of how much more advanced much of our medical care is that we’ve gotten so many procedures into that routine and safe a situation that it can be done in an outpatient manner. But no… let’s strive to make every little thing done require days of hospital stay instead.

    One of the reason providers charge more is because they almost have to. They have to charge the private side more to make up for the underpayment of the gov’t insurance programs as well as to cover the uninsured (and many illegals) that can’t pay at all. There’s also the fact that gov’t payers (US and others) will only pay a set amount for drugs, so they essentially have to make up the difference in the one place that they can.

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  4. InsipiD says:

    They claim that America’s obesity rate is not driving our healthcare costs, only accounting for $25 billion in spending. If that’s the case, someone needs to tell the CDC, which has estimated obesity to be responsible or at least 10% of our healthcare spending and projects it to eventually cause 20% of our spending. Obesity is a primary risk factor for heart disease, something we spend a lot of money on. Lipitor alone is a $7 billion expense.

    The truth is probably somewhere in between. One is a fat guy trying to shift the blame away, and the other is someone who is similarly agenda-driven who counts a fat guy with a cold as “obesity-related.” I know people who aren’t overweight who take drugs like Lipitor and Plavix. Fat people might be a lot more likely to get heart disease, but it can happen to anybody at any time. I had a very fit uncle who died of a heart attack while leaving the gym after schooling a bunch of people at racquetball.

    I frequently hear a PSA on the radio about COPD that uses having smoked as few as 5 packs of cigarettes as a risk factor. I’m sorry, but BS. The only way that realistic health policies will ever be formulated will be if everyone’s agenda is left out of it. Everyone has a poker in that fire. Good luck.

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  5. Seattle Outcast says:

    I’m confused – Sullivan is a troll and a ‘tard, but some people here seem to hang on his every post. Why?

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  6. InsipiD says:

    Sullivan is very liberal on some subjects and was conservative on security and terrorist related stuff. His liberal roots are showing a lot more lately. He can even be fun, but I don’t even read him much anymore because he’s so often a big Obama guy that I just can’t agree with him much anymore. I hadn’t heard of him until I came here, and I’m starting to think that he’s an Eddie Haskell. I can understand why Lee liked him, but lately I’m certainly not.

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  7. Rann says:

    And it shouldn’t be forgotten that the man is possibly the person on the planet most obsessed with Sarah Palin’s vagina. It’s one of those “It’s okay when we do it” things, that it’s perfectly understandable (or at the least forgivable) to be a Palin Birther but a sign of severe insanity to be an Obama Birther.

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  8. Hal_10000 says:

    Quite simply because his is the most trafficked blog on the sphere and tends to drive the conversation. I usually don’t hang on him but this was distillation of a huge amount of misleading information floating around the Left Wing.

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