There is a publication called Aunt Minnie.com that is published by radiologists for radiologists. There is a very interesting article in today’s edition you may like to see.
People ask Tim and I all the time why healthcare costs so much. It is situations like the ones highlighted in this article that are some of the causes for the high costs of healthcare.
On the one hand, we have developed great technologies, procedures and medications that can effectively treat lung cancer if caught early. On the other, early diagnosis, can save a life and perhaps save money – but it is also true that it can also cause the person that survives to have a lifetime of chronic conditions that are quite expensive. In many occasions, that cost is extremely significant across the person’s life. This can add a huge amount to our collective societal healthcare bill.
What is astounding is the incidence rate of the people who simply are not responsible enough to get any form of care until they develop the conditions, even if terminal, that will be very, very, expensive to them and, all of us as well.
This problem extends way beyond Lung Cancer to many other chronic conditions and diseases. One the one hand, we can save a life – always the best thing. Yet, on the other, we, or society under our current system, are now assuming the financial responsibility of the cost of many, many, years of care for most of these people.
For example, at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the cost of medications and treatment was high typically $10-15,000 per month. With the effective care of that period, we could extend an afflicted patient’s lifespan about 8 years. Near the end of their lifespan, their quality of life was not very good. Total cost of life treatment would be about $1.4 million per patient.
Today, with modern care, medications and technologies, the patient can live almost a normal life span, and cost of treatment is still about $15-18,000 per month on average. They are now living another 40 – 60 years. Clearly this is a good thing. What is not so good a thing is the cost of the new lifetime of care is about $9 million.
This is not to say that we think we should let people die. Nor are we saying that we should restrict access to effective care. That is not our point. We are bringing this to the table to point out that early diagnosis and treatment often only lowers the cost of care for the short-term. For the longer term, the chronic care that lingers, adds up.
These are just a few of the reasons healthcare costs are huge today. And, this is why we need to have open and honest discussions of why care is costing so much and, why we need to stop trying to blame the problems on Drug Manufacturers, Doctors, Insurance Companies, Hospitals, Government and every and anything else. In the end, it is all of these issues and, frankly, us that are causing the cost problems. Our expectations are way beyond what modern medicine can deliver. When something doesn’t meet our unrealistic expectations, we want more care. And in the end we want to sue somebody. Even if care does meet our expectations, particularly in later years, after 55, care costs begin to climb as our bodily systems age and begin to suffer the diseases of old age. and we need more and more care. Since Care is dangerous the care itself can trigger problems that will add-on more needed care costs.
The good news is there are answers. There is a way to have an effective healthcare system that will provide for us what we need effectively, efficiently and affordably, including a safety net for the helpless. If we want to get there, WE, not the government, need to begin a dialog, a discussion; reset our expectations and understand why what we have is not working. Join with us to make the changes WE (the people) need to make, dis-spell the myths and demand the changes that will bring us the care we need and make available the extra care we want.
Please comment below and let us know what you think! If you have a question ask it we will try to help get the answers.