[ExI] USA Health Costs

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Jun 7 02:33:52 UTC 2009

2009/6/7 painlord2k at libero.it <painlord2k at libero.it>:
> Il 06/06/2009 19.00, Stathis Papaioannou ha scritto:
>> 2009/6/7 painlord2k at libero.it<painlord2k at libero.it>:
>>>> This is the sort of decision doctors make all the time, and there are
>>>> guidelines based on research for what tests and procedures should be
>>>> performed in a particular situation.
>>> And the guidelines change with the time.
>> Of course, everything is tentative in science. Some treatments we use
>> today will be eventually shown to be useless or harmful, but we can
>> only follow the best evidence we have at a particular time.
> The main point is that the decision is only of the patient.
> Where did "informed decision" by the patient fit in this.
> The doctor choose, the government choose, and the patients pay.

The decision is the patient's but the patient will probably rely on
the advice of the doctor more than when buying a car, for example. And
even if the patient does his own research, an environment where drug
companies and other vendors of medical products or services can
advertise freely will result in a bias towards unnecessary treatment.
Look at how much money is spent on "alternative" therapies with no
scientific evidence in their favour whatsoever, and extrapolate this
to therapies that are not completely inert, but which lack evidence to
show that they are helpful in a particular situation. You might say
that it's OK if people are willing to pay, but apart from the fact
that these therapies may do more harm than good, it does add
needlessly to the total cost of health care, and takes resources away
from where they might yield greater benefit.

Stathis Papaioannou

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