Arrgh. This article from April 12, 2010 Forbes ought to raise the ire of many a reader who needs a simple example of how our health care system is sick! You might even want to swallow a couple of the pills described, as they are used to treat ‘heartburn’.
It outlines what happens in a system when one is spending other people’s money. One is willing to have other people pay a lot more for something perhaps marginally more effective than a drug available over the counter ($165 per month vs. less than $20.00). Some companies and government payers wisely stopped paying altogether, saving millions with the stroke of a pen, and likely having zero impact on the health of their insured.
In fact, as a physician and an occasional patient, I find myself asking a question not raised in the article: How many of these pills ought to be taken at any price, rather than living with the occasional discomfort, or altering one’s diet or other lifestyle changes. A focus on cost of care ought to be combined with attention to need for care.
A side issue in the article is that mention is made of a panel to oversee effectiveness of treatments to determine Medicare disbursements being eliminated due to lobbying. The article I posted yesterday appears to reference a similar panel being in place. If any reader knows the distinction between these two, please comment.