Jul 27 2009

It Costs Money To Save And Extend Lives

Published by at 12:07 pm under Obamacare

Probably one of the most important articles on Health Care costs verses access came out in the Washington Post today, showing why cheaper is deadlier in this key area of our economy:

In the 1960s, the chance of dying in the days immediately after a heart attack was 30 to 40 percent. In 1975, it was 27 percent. In 1984, it was 19 percent. In 1994, it was about 10 percent. Today, it’s about 6 percent.

Over the same period, the charges for treating a heart attack marched steadily upward, from about $5,700 in 1977 to $54,400 in 2007 (without adjusting for inflation).

The treatment of coronary heart disease — of which heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction, is the most significant component — this year will cost about $93 billion. It’s a huge contributor to the $2.3 trillion annual bill for medical care in the United States. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 35 percent of deaths in America and has been the leading cause of death every year since 1900, except 1918, the year of the Spanish flu epidemic.

The evolution of heart attack treatment over the past three decades is a story of doing more things to more people at greater expense with better results. It is a portrait in miniature of medicine in the United States.

A majority of an individual’s burden on the health care system comes in the waning years of life – whether those years are triggered by old age are serious conditions. The only way to significantly reduce costs is to reduce access to these expensive life saving treatments.

We were at a family reunion this weekend and explaining to my mid to late 80’s parents what Obamacare meant. They represent perfect examples of expensive life saving care that was provided over the last decade or two. Their lives would be different if rationed care based on expense and life expectancy/productivity was in place over their retirement years. I seriously doubt they would still be with us. They pay for medicare gap insurance – something that would be phased out under the liberal health care bill in the House, where profit and private industry are seen as the bane to health care.

The baby boomers are now looking at how they will deal with their final years, and Obamacare should scare the hell out of them. As still one of the largest voting and purchasing generations out there, losing these key voters would spell disaster for Obama and his liberal cohorts in congress. In fact, they may already have sealed the fate of this risky liberal schemes.

Update: Another important factoid from this great article:

That transformation has saved the lives of millions of Americans.

In 1970, the death rate from coronary heart disease was 448 per 100,000 people. In 1980, it was 345. In 1990, it was 250. In 2000, it was 187. In 2006, it was 135 — less than a third of what it was during Topol’s senior year of high school.

Well, we can save money by not saving lives. But look on the plus side. You will definitely get an appointment in order to get the bad news from the doctor on why the government deemed you unworthy of saving. That is what is meant by “access” under Obamacare.

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “It Costs Money To Save And Extend Lives”

  1. Whomever says:

    while this link may seem off-thread, somehow it seems pertinent. We need to understand the game being played. the game is called: MONEY. Who has money? Lobbiests. http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/…009-07-25.html

    Bill Moyers had two very reasonable women on the show on Friday. http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07242009/watch.html
    They also speak of MONEY. The same group against Clinton health care in the 90s are for Democrats health care in the 09s.

    Same tune: follow the money.

  2. WWS says:

    There was a great analysis of old age health care a couple days back entitled:

    “The Reaper is Cheaper”.

    That’s what real cost control in the health industry always comes down to. Obama is a fool if he doesn’t recognize this, and a liar if he does.

  3. […] Read more: It Costs Money To Save And Extend Lives […]

  4. lurker9876 says:

    I tried to explain to someone at work that if Obamacare passes, the public option will open up the doors for employers to drop their employee-provided insurance plans; forcing employees to take the public option.

    He disagrees with an argument that the public option will force the private insurance companies to be more competitive.

    He also disagrees that the elderly will lose a lot of the treatments. He is really hoping that the public option will cover his daughter’s medical issues.

    My brother who lives in Nigeria watched CNN (Fox News not available in Nigeria) over the weekend where Fareed really tore Mitch McConnell apart with his lies and twisting of the facts. Anyone watch it?

  5. KauaiBoy says:

    Now is the time to press for tort reform and watch the money trail for who objects. This directly impacts the cost side of the equation in lowering malpractice costs and reducing unnecessary CYA procedures without impacting the level of services or overall infrastructure. After all bobo is screaming more about the current costs and how if we do nothing a large asteroid will hit your house. The fact that neither he nor the MSM have addressed this shows the institutionalized level of corruption in Washington. The timing of his bigoted outburst couldn’t have been better to show the unenlightened his true colors and how overexaggerated his brain powers are. Further proof that a Harvard degree doesn’t require common sense nor does becoming a professor there.

  6. pjo says:

    AJ, has to be a pest but the correct word is versus. As for this mess called Obamacare, I would not have my mother right now if we were already under the regime and probably the same for one of my sisters who had a rather aggressive form of cancer. I continue to have the argument with my twin brother and his love affair with this type of healthcare, I cannot understand the fascination with dragging everyone down to same craptastic level of care versus enabling as many people as possible to enjoy better healthcare coverage via pooling people together and several other means that have been discussed. Then we can figure out how to handle the rest of the people who still cannot get a better healthcare coverage and want it.

  7. crosspatch says:

    Great article in The Weekly Standard, too:

    Obamacare: It’s worse than you think.

  8. cochino says:

    All the talk of how preventative care (you know, giving kids with asthma breathalyzers and stuff like that) and keeping people healthier will save tons of money is a load of crap. At best, it helps around the edges. As this post makes clear, the inescapable and fundamental logic of healthcare is that it’s always cheaper not to treat someone as opposed to treating them. That’s it. The easiest way to cut costs is to cut down on treatment.

    Under Obamacare, if you’re 70? 75? 80? You may as well just go and die. And if you’re not going to die, please kill yourself.

  9. crosspatch says:

    What upsets me so much is how they can refuse care for a generation that delivered Europe and Asia from dictators and put people on the moon yet give care to illegal immigrants, FOR FREE, who haven’t done anything on that scale for this country. It is simply beyond belief. We are going to say “screw you” to an amazing generation and welcome with open arms people who disregard our laws, avoid our taxes, and collect the benefits of our society.

    Absolutely disgusting.

  10. Neo says:

    … and frankly, what is the point of medical research since it will ultimately only raise the price of health care ?

    I bet the Michael J. Fox’s of the world are wondering what will be left for them when cost outweighs outcomes

  11. Neo says:

    I saw a commercial featuring Michael J. Fox last night and this same thought went through my brain …

    Who will tell Michael J. Fox he needs to die?

    Sorry Mike. Say Goodbye to Hollywood. Close your Parkinson’s Foundation (waste of scarce resources, to wax Singeresque). Just go home to the wife and kids, cut off these expensive meds and please die. Quietly. And for heaven’s sake, get yourself buried in private. We don’t want any of this Michael Jackson type-hoopla disrupting our favorite programs. We have lives to get on with.