Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Why preventive Obamacare raises, not lowers, costs

Obama says he’s going to give 49 million people who do not now have it health insurance and the nation’s bill for health care will go down. If you believe that, stop reading. You’re too dumb to comprehend the rest of this.

One way Obama says he is going to cut costs is to emphasize preventive medicine. Well that makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, we all know that a stitch in time saves nine.

Actually, it does not make sense if you think it through.

Charles Krauthammer is a conservative newspaper columnist and regular Fox News contributor. He’s also a licensed medical doctor and psychiatrist. He’s great. I just added him to my living national treasures list. He should have been there before.

When asked about preventive medicine on Fox News, Krauthammer said it was a good thing for a number of reasons but lower cost was most definitely not one of them.

I researched and wrote about preventive medicine in the second edition of my book Succeeding which came out in 2008. It relates to that book because being healthy helps you succeed and enables you to enjoy your success.

As far as cost is concerned, preventive medicine does not cost less. It costs more.

1. Preventive medicine costs more money to pay for additional medicine, exams, tests, vaccinations, health club membership, and safety devices.
2. Preventive medicine causes people to live longer which costs more because they receive more medical care, not to mention Social Security benefits, during their longer lives.
3. Living longer means you are more likely to die of a degenerative disease that requires prolonged intensive health care and hospitalization.

The cheapest health care for the government would be if everyone died suddenly of a heart attack after they stop earning taxable wages but before they started colleting Social Security. Like I said in the title, “You’ve had a good life, now drop dead.”

In Succeeding, I listed six categories of preventive medicine:

1. good health habits including:
• diet quality
• diet quantity
• exercise
• hygiene
2. regular physicals
3. getting recommended tests for detection of symptomless illnesses
4. recommended vaccinations
5.
safer activities and places where you spend time
6. promptly getting professional advice when you have symptoms

Obama sets the diet quality and quantity example with his consumption of arugula from Whole Foods and his Somali warlord physique. But he smokes cigarettes. Sound preventive medicine would ban tobacco products. If not, the people who use them should not be eligible for health insurance that I contribute money to. Call use of tobacco a pre-existing condition—stupidity—that either excludes the user from all public health care or at least from health care that relates to tobacco use.

Same thing applies to fat people and alcoholics or problem drinkers and illegal drug users.

Obama may set an example with regard to exercise. We occasionally see him playing pick-up basketball. But he needs to work out more systematically every other day—both cardio and weight training. Maybe he could lead an exercise TV program daily like the Richard Simmons in Chief.

As far as hygiene is concerned, we’re gonna need daily inspections.

Basically, since good health habits are the main thing in preventive medicine, Obama is going to have to enact a law that requires universal daily attendance at a weigh-in, inspection of your personal hygiene, a drug test, and calisthenics. Let’s call it reveille. There’s even music for it. It sounds like this. He can bring all sorts of R. Lee Ermey types out of retirement to supervise it.

Persons who benefit from universal health care but who are AWOL from daily reveille will have a warrant issued for their arrest.

Overweight persons will be required to report to a fat boot camp where their food intake will be restricted and they will be required to exercise.

These steps will cost more money than the current heath care system.

Mandatory regular physicals

Mandatory universal health care that emphasizes preventive medicine require mandatory physicals that are at least annual or more often for persons with certain risk factors. If you do not attend your scheduled physicals, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Mandatory tests

Similarly, according to your age and other risk factors, you will be required to get the tests recommended by the medical profession including sigmoidoscopies and breast exams. If you do not appear for your scheduled tests, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Mandatory vaccinations

Ditto. You will get your flu shots, DPT, etc. No exceptions. These shots will kill some of you but not getting them will kill more of you. You’ve had a good life.

Hazardous activities and places

All hazardous activities will be outlawed, like riding motorcycles. All places frequented by humans like homes, workplaces, and public areas will be inspected periodically for safety hazards. If you have a safety hazard and do not correct it promptly, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Regular dental care

Since dental care is part of your health and affects all of your health, daily brushing and flossing will be required and inspected for at reveille. Also, regular checkups will be mandatory and recommended dental therapies must be performed when recommended by your dentist. If you fail to take care of your teeth, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

All of the above will cost more than the current health care system.

False positives and negatives

The more tests you perform, the more false positive and false negative results you get. I lost half my thyroid gland to a false alarm benign lump that was discovered during my annual physical. False negatives cause you to ignore continuing symptoms that warrant a second or third opinion. In short, federally mandated mandatory preventive medicine will cause far more false test results and those, in turn, will waste more money.

A stitch in time saves nine

Preventive maintenance is usually wise because a stitch in time saves nine. One is cheaper than nine.

But preventive maintenance is not wise in some cases because sometimes the stitch only saves one or a half a stitch. You have to do a cost-benefit analysis and be careful not to cross the point of diminishing returns.

From a strict dollar standpoint, much health care given to older persons is not cost effective given their likely remaining life span. Other countries that have universal health care deny much of the health care given in the U.S. to seniors. Preventive medicine increases the percentage of people who live to become seniors.

The stitch-in-time advice does not apply to many health-care decisions. For example, preventive medicine can prevent or delay heart attacks. But everyone has to die of something. Preventive medicine that prevents heart attacks will almost certainly result in the person in question dying of a far more expensive disease, like cancer or Alzheimers, not to mention all the health care costs they will trigger for other things during their expanded-by-preventive-medicine life span.

Preventive medicine is wise policy, but not because it reduces medical care costs. It raises them. Furthermore, most preventive medicine relates to lifestyle choices and the government will not dare make effective efforts to change those choices.

Politician adultery

Former presidential candidate John Edwards recently was forced to admit he has been cheating on his wife. Bill Clinton famously did the same in the 1990s. As has John McCain.

The philandering Democrats (PhDs) have lately been using their infidelities as teaching moments. For example, when Bill Clinton cheated on Hillary—again and again and again—we learned that lying under oath does not matter if the subject is sex. Who knew?

Now John Edwards has pointed out that cheating on your wife who is dying of inoperable cancer does not matter—or matters less—if she is in remission. Who knew? We are still waiting to hear the logic behind that ethical standard.

I was previously appalled by the Edwards family’s decision to keep campaigning for president after Elizabeth was diagnosed with inoperable terminal cancer. They have small children. Why are they not spending all of her remaining time with each other and with their small children? Her explanation at the time her cancer was announced was, “This is what we do.” That was an idiotic “explanation.” Terminal cancer is not the flu. And what spouses and parents “do” is spend time with their families—especially when one of them is going to die in the near future.

Others have said doctors recommend that people with terminal cancer continue to go about their normal lives. Campaigning for president ain’t normal by any standard. To apply that advice to such a political campaign is mindless. A family with young children and a terminally-ill parent should be spending as much time as possible time together, not separately making speeches at rubber chicken political lunches and putting the kids in day care.

The philandering maverick syndrome (PMS) folks have also advanced our understanding of marital sexual ethics. We have now learned that John McCain frantically cheated on his wife who waited for him while he was in the Hanoi Hilton in spite of her having been injured in a car accident after he returned home and that he is excused from moral approbation for this behavior because they beat him up in North Vietnam. He was having sex with the woman now known as Cindy McCain when he was still married to his POW wife. That is why I refer to her as the potential “First Other Woman” in contrast to Hillary who was the “First Woman” and Laura Bush who is a “First Lady.” McCain’s membership in the notorious Tailhook Association had far more to do with his infidelity than his stay in the Hanoi Hilton.

To his credit, adulterer McCain takes responsibility for his infidelity which he calls “irresponsible.” It is only partisan apologists like Sean Hannity who argue that his Hanoi Hilton experience excuses his adultery. It does not. If it does, what other non-Straight-Talk-Express behavior undesirable in presidents can we expect?

Then there were Gary Hart and Teddy Kennedy. Hart ran for president in 1984 and 1988 and was the front runner in ’88, until he pulled out. Why? Because he got caught with Donna Rice, who was not his wife, sitting on his lap and leaving his apartment very early in the morning. Hart never admitted infidelity or apologized to his supporters. Ted Kennedy was trying to have an extramarital tryst with one of his campaign workers—Mary Jo Kopechne—but en route to a secluded parking spot, Kennedy accidentally drove his car into a channel. He escaped. Kopechne did not. She drowned. Kennedy did not report the accident. Instead, he went to his motel and called his lawyer. He subsequently ran for president, has been a senator since 1964, and generally is considered a hero of the Democrat party’s left wing.

Would someone explain to me why one extramarital affair ends the careers of guys like Edwards and Hart, but other guys like Clinton, McCain, and the Kennedys, who have multiple affairs including one episode that killed a woman, another that was alleged rape, yet they get a pass.

What about Obama? Should you vote for him because he is not an adulterer? Who knows whether he is or isn’t? Before August, 2008, everyone would have said that John Edwards was clean on that score. Plus, Obama has admitted cocaine use and alcohol abuse. He claims to have quit cocaine, but he admits to having trouble quitting smoking. I never used cocaine or tobacco but it is my understanding that cocaine is far harder to quit. And he says he used cocaine and alcohol because of anguish over his multi-racial identity. I would think the problems he would face as president of the U.S. would far exceed identity anguish. What are the chances that a guy who relied on alcohol and cocaine in the past for such trivial problems will feel entitled to do the same when he has the weight of the world on his shoulders?

Reportedly, about 40% of American men have cheated on their wives. It seems to me that we therefore can, and should, select our presidents from the other 60%. The same is true of cocaine users. Most have never done that so why not select our presidents from the drug-free group?

Adulterers predictably do not care for a no-adulterers policy. They point to FDR, JFK, and other presidential cheaters as evidence of the irrelevance of that behavior pattern. Actually, to draw sound conclusions, we would need a study of how adulterers and non-adulterers have performed in a wide variety of executive positions in larger numbers than the tiny database of presidents. Logically, it is a matter of trust. One would think trustworthiness was an important quality in someone who would have the 300 million citizens of the U.S. entrust their country to him.

Presidential candidates are, it appears to me, a bunch of sociopaths. A sociopath is someone who is all about himself and who sees others as simply sometimes useful animals or objects.

My state of California will vote Democrat no matter who that party nominates. My vote does not count here. If you live in a state where your vote might decide the election, and you believe that one of these scum bags is a lesser scum bag, vote for him. Otherwise, vote libertarian or some such to send a message to the major political parties that they need to do a lot better than the likes of John McCain and Barack Obama if they want normal Americans to participate.

The “fact” that you feel you “have to” vote for either McCain or Obama does not mean you need to be happy about it or that you have to say that your guy is a great guy. Do not cheapen yourself by pretending that the virtueless are virtuous or that the experienceless have experience. American has a couple million men and women better qualified to be president than McCain and Obama. Voting for either of these clowns is like having root canal done. Get it over with and spare us the explanations about why it was great.

John T. Reed