Friday, November 20, 2009

New Study

The Clarion Content was surprised to be engaged by someone who came into one of our offices for an entirely separate reason about a newly released study on mammograms. This male fellow, perhaps a crank or an alarmist, but nonetheless engaging, said that he had worked for the pharmaceutical industry for years. He said, with the conviction of a passionate conspiracy theorist, that the big drug companies had been preparing for the government takeover of health care for years and would respond with a series of studies suggesting that American's need less early screening and less preventative care.

This is a sophisticated angle on the traditional argument that reads, government managed health care equals rationing of the care and medical services available. This says the way in which care will be rationed is that medical service providers will be reluctant to treat the maybes, people not yet diagnosed as sick. The not yet sick, would represent a less securely billable revenue stream than the actually already sick, which the government would surely reimburse the medical service providers for treating. The same would apply to the pharmaceutical companies, they would find it far easier to get the government to reimburse for drugs for the already ill, rather than preventative medication for the not yet ill (something hardly exists in the status quo either).

Interesting, if nothing else this argument augurs how deeply the government will have to get involved in the management of care if it nationalizes the health system outright. It will have to function as the arbiter at thousands of levels of health care policy, everything from the right to treatment for addiction to the number of days post-birth mothers stay in the hospital. It is only because the insurance companies have done such an awful, callous, profit driven job of this management that the American people are even remotely willing to turn this task over to the government.

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