Commentary on current events, politics and law.
Copyright © Fred Roper 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010
Universal health care seems like it should be a no brainer, if for no other reason than if people are properly vaccinated they are less likely to infect the rest of us.The problem with universal health care would be the potential for demand to increase in ways that are not increasing a persons health, for example I recentely saw a esearch proposal to investigate the potential for preventative Chemo. Most of us understand that Chemo is pretty nasty and is almost guaranteed to cause many other problems, but a few people are scared enough that they would subject themselves to Chemo to avoid the big C. It is sort of like women having their breasts and Ovaries removed to avoid breast cancer. Even though it is a very small number of people who resort to these extreme measures to ease their worries, the expense of these procedures is immense. A single payer or universal health care system would have to figure out a way to reign in the marketing machine that is modern medicine in the US, or eventually a small number of people that I call the "worried well" would bancrupt almost any system.
I understand what you are saying Karl, but there is also the Hippocratic Oath (at least in theory) of "First, do no harm." Here is more of the Oath:A Modern Version of the Hippocratic OathI swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.I would see giving chemotherapy to someone who does not have cancer as dangerous. I could be wrong, but I would think that such treatment could cause illnesses that would not be there otherwise. Chemotherapy wreaks havoc on the immune system, if I remember correctly. On top of that, those people who have an excessive fear of illness may suffer from Manchausen's Syndrome. (See my previous post The Law of Demand and Health Care.)
Most Doctors probably do take the oath and the health of their patients seriously, which can work against them as they may not be telling their patients what they wish to hear. Awhile back I saw a survey that talked about peoples satisfaction with their doctors and when they went back and looked at the care these people actually recieved the quality of care had little to do with their satisfaction. A good example is the overprescribing of antibiotics, you go to the Dr with a virus, and the Dr knows it is a virus and antibiotics are not going to do any good, but they give them to you anyway just to keep you happy. BTW I mean you in the general sense not YOU in particular.
Karl:I asked a doctor once about the overprescribing of antibiotics when people have a cold. To the best of my recollection, he said that many viruses have secondary bacterial infections that need antibiotic treatments. Also, I was told that the greatest threat from overuse of antibiotics comes from treating beef and other animals.Another cause of resistant bacteria comes from people who use antibiotics and quit using them before treatment is complete. This leaves the most resistant strains left and requires another round of another antibiotic.
The food supply is filled with potential problems, it is interesting that no one in congress is particarly interested in fixxing it.
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