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Healthcare costs are falling with Obamacare

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Facts are a pesky thing. And the facts are clear that healthcare costs are rising at historically low rates since the introduction of Obamacare.

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Let doctors see health care costs

stacks of 100 bills

Here’s a fascinating tidbit. When doctors know the cost of tests and procedures, it affects how often they will order them.

We also know that patients will think twice when they have to pay even modest amounts for tests.

This is all just further evidence that we need to change the way we do things if we’re ever going to reform our health care system and fix our long term budget issues.

Perverse incentives for hospital profits

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Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you want to know one reason why our health care system is so screwed up, please read this article. It explains how hospitals often make more money when complications arise during surgery.

Patients who suffer complications after surgery are lucrative for hospitals, which get paid more when they treat infections and other problems, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association today.

In 2010, an unnamed, nonprofit 12-hospital chain in the southern U.S. was paid an average of $49,400 per person for treating surgery patients who have complications — more than double the $18,900 paid for patients who underwent only the initial surgery, according to an analysis by researchers from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere.

Read the entire article for details on this problem. We need to alter these incentives and pay for health care that actually works. Incompetence and mistakes should not be rewarded.

Should Physicians Consider Cost When Treating Patients?

Where does cost fit into health care decisions?

This subject is being discussed by a major medical group which recently proposed the position to doctors that they should consider cost-effectiveness when treating patients.

“The cost of health care in the United States is twice that of any other industrialized countries and we are not providing care to as many people as they do in other places, and we don’t even have as good outcomes,” said Dr. Virginia Hood, president of the group. “So given that, we really have to look at ways of doing things better.”

Big Medical Advances To Come in the New Year

Medical advances in the new year could have a huge impact on world health.

Vaccines, new regulations and cheaper drugs are just some of the medical advances to come.

Like other vaccines, cancer vaccines use a chemical marker of a disease (in one case, a virus; in another, a malignant tumor) to train a person’s immune system to fight the disease.
But unlike vaccines for the flu or chicken pox, which are preventive, “we almost uniformly vaccinate after cancer is there,” Kwak said.
Some cancer vaccines in development could be administered to many people, while others – including Kwak’s vaccine for follicular lymphoma – would have to be tailored to each patient’s tumors.

There is a lot to look forward to and more choices will be one of the biggest drivers of change and improvement.

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