WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

The Problem with Unnecessary (or Redundant) Health-care

In my most pessimistic moments, sometimes I think a unique convergence of factors makes the United States the least nimble country when it comes to "fixing" our health-care system.

Observers in other countries have suggested the attempt to graft "Obamacare" onto a private insurance system, coupled with the checkerboard of willing & unwilling states, creates a unique logistical nightmare. Even with a much smoother roll-out of the Federal health-care website, problems were simply inevitable.

And it's not just an accident that U.S. health-care costs far exceed those for other modern industrialized countries. Defenders of the current system like to brag about the cutting-edge technology available in top medical centers, but that technology produces an inexorable push for such centers and physicians to USE that technology.

Plus, add the tendency to order ultimately unnecessary medical tests, in part, the result of U.S. physicians trying to protect their behinds from medical malpractice suits. Consider: Doctors are infrequently accused of doing TOO MUCH.

In turn, U.S. doctors have to pony up for expensive medical malpractice insurance on top of making payments for medical school. And, some physicians have a financial interest in ordering particular interventions.

Consider this piece from The ATLANTIC: "You're getting TOO MUCH health-care"...


Posted at 8:03am on December 10, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 8:52am
"Defenders of the current system like to brag about the cutting-edge technology available in top medical centers, but that technology produces an inexorable push for such centers and physicians to USE that technology."

And now, to keep costs down for the new up-to-standards coverages under the ACA, insurance companies are not approving their policy holders to have access to those "top medical centers." Of course, the one-percenters can still go. And, no doubt, the special coverage Obama gets at our expense will get him into those centers, too.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Dec 10, 2013 8:59am
I've read [and don't remember where] that one reason our medical costs are higher than the rest of the world is the cost of R&D is paid by Americans when they buy meds. From what I understand, those costs are not passed on to other First World nations, like Canada, Japan, and Europe. My question is why not? I could understand not charging Third World nation's a piece of the R&D cost [they're lucky if they can afford a discounted price], but why should Americans shoulder that cost alone?

Neither party has addressed this, probably because both DEMS & the G.O.P. get their palms greased by Big Pharma Companies.

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 9:39am
MikeFromDelaware: Yes, BigPharma greases a lot of palms and is an equal opportunity greaser. They are not (for various reasons) able to spread the "grease" to politicians in the other countries you mentioned. So drug prices are regulated either by law or by the national health services. These are single-payer countries, so the single-payer has a lot of clout with drug providers.
This is one reason, people in this country go to Canada (or order on-line from Canadian pharmacies) to get drugs.

Grease or no grease, probably little Congress can do about drug prices in other countries (although they could do much to lower them here).

Here's an interesting related tidbit I discovered the other day. We all know if you don't get health insurance under ACA, you have pay a "tax." What's kept a secret, is if you are on Medicare and do not sign up for Medicare Part D (drug coverage) when you turn 65, and later decide to get Part D, you have to pay a penalty for the time you did not have Part D. This is not mentioned on the Medicare website, the Part D providers' websites, or any of the literature sent out. The penalty is one per cent of your Part D premium (whatever the premium on your plan is) for each month you did not have Part D coverage after you became eligible for Medicare. Nice of the government to let people know.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Dec 10, 2013 10:21am
Billsmith: I'm assuming that secret has been in place for years, prior to Obama, so we can't say Obama and his band of merry men lied, or possibly not even Bush Jr. and his band of village idiots; it might go back many years [not sure when that Part D was created]. Wonder how many seniors have been burnt by this little trick? Wonder why A.A.R.P. hasn't known about this? Unless this is due to Obamacare changing the rules that were in place so it's a new thing.

Yea, I agree, how nice of the government to let people know. Thanks for the head's up.

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 10:44am
Part D started under Dubya.
A.A.R.P. sells Medicare supplement coverage (including Part D). Maybe they "lie," too and prefer people sign up for coverage without worrying about any additional penalties. A.A.R.P.'s main business is selling things to members, not collecting dues or lobbying.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Dec 10, 2013 1:30pm
Billsmith: So to be fair, I guess I should imply that it's possible that Bush Jr. lied, but more likely, they didn't want to tax his brain with such details - heh heh.

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 2:06pm
MikeFromDelaware: Or maybe he was in the middle of a three-day drinking binge.

Imagine how much better the world would be if 20 years ago they'd made Dubya Commissioner of Baseball, instead of Selig.

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 6:07pm
Bush may have lied, but that was years ago. Not that relevant today unless you are a historian.

More relevant is the current trade deals being outlined by the United States. It applies to this thread because it is very favorable to U.S. Pharma, and if signed by all parties, would allow U.S. Pharma to extend their copyrights on their products indefinitely.. granting them a permanent monopoly on all pharmaceuticals in this country....

Of course that would be bad for other nations whose citizens get sick too, and even worse for Americans who also would pay more due to the complete lack of competition.

Current administration members are denying they were doing so, just like they denied every one of Snowden's allegations which turned out to be true...

Internal buzz is that the lobbyist delegated to write that portion took it upon himself to slide it in thinking no one would see it... Foreign governments have given copies to news media around the world, with the offending parts highlighted...

The funny thing is that Republicans can't do anything to capitalize upon it, because Big Pharma is one of their largest donors.... Here is a great opportunity for them to take and build inroads with Middle America, and they can do nothing about it politically because they are, for lack of a better description, corporate whores too....

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 6:24pm
As stated, this comes down to malpractice. Other nations have cheaper costs and don't do unnecessary tests.

Do you really need to know if your chromium level is too low when you go in for erectile dysfunction? One could simply take Centrium vitamins and compensate never knowing...

Tort reform is hailed by those as a necessary requirement. However, remove the threat of being sued, and you remove the likelihood you will get a proper diagnosis. It is a real motivator for getting a persons' health diagnosis correct.

On the other hand, we also need to get rid of the idea that a doctor is a god and punches the buttons of the future on his computer. If a person does not make it, it was his fault, and he must pay for it... Hence the reasons for the tests to prove... "look, I did everything I could, even looked at his chromium as a source for his erectile dysfunction"... And so we test for everything...

The word "malpractice" means bad practice. All we need is a middle-of-the-road opinion as other nations have over the definition of "bad practice"... Not thinking of an outlandish test that is far outside the norm of medical practice, is not "bad practice".. One should not sue for that. But sewing a scalpel inside a body cavity is "bad practice" and the tort laws need to be left intact, to make the fear of reprisal keep scalpels from frequently being sewn up inside open body cavities...

Getting rid of tort laws is bad; and so is suing for every little thing bad. We need to take the course right down the middle....

Which incidentally is what almost all other nations do.

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 9:43pm
Eh, what the heck? All we need to do is just vote in the Communist Party of America. They'll fix it.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 12:09am
Communists = Tea Party
Stalin = Ted Cruz
Lenin = Rand Paul

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 1:16am
In what world do any of your definitions aptly fit?

If you want an actual Communist example...look no farther than the new NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Of course our current president (if not an actual Communist) was raised by and surrounded by Communists growing up and in college.

Trevor Loudon, the New Zealand-based blogger who has been analyzing the political forces behind Obama and specializes in studying the impact of Marxist and leftist political organizations, notes that Frank Chapman, a CPUSA supporter, has written a letter to the party newspaper hailing the Illinois senator’s victory in the Iowa caucuses.

“Obama’s victory was more than a progressive move; it was a dialectical leap ushering in a qualitatively new era of struggle,” Chapman wrote. “Marx once compared revolutionary struggle with the work of the mole, who sometimes burrows so far beneath the ground that he leaves no trace of his movement on the surface. This is the old revolutionary ‘mole,’ not only showing his traces on the surface but also breaking through.”


Wed, Dec 11, 2013 2:32am
Gee, the communists went out of business and Earl still worries about them. I guess they need something to talk about when he and two other guys get together for the John Birch Society national convention.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 8:53am
bill: Um, please enlighten me as to what the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans and Cubans are if they are not Communist? True, several of them have realized the economic model for Communism loses against Capitalism and for that reason some have embraced the "western" economic model...but Putin, Raul Castro and Kim Jong Un still control their citizens through the State.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 9:50am
Earl: Not all dictators are communists. In fact, most dictators are right-wingers. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a communist country. It's been gone for over 20 years.
The kind of people you support are more likely to become dictators if given the chance.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 11:22am
bill: The people I support want to follow the Constitution...no dictator-wannabes in the mix.

BTW, remember when talking about Left/Right Wingers that European Left/Right is very different from the L/R in America.
European Far Left is Communism and the Far Right is Facism.
The Far Right in America would be Anarchy...and Far Left would be Tyranny...the Founding Fathers/Constitution places us in the Center of the two.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 11:33am
This is why there is universally no respect for the Tea Party.

Earl uses a blogger from New Zealand (???) who picks up a letter (???) published in a newsletter(???) (attributed???) to the Communist Party (???) that was written back in January 2008 (???) that mentions a "new era of struggle" (???) and by coincidence Marx also mentioned the word "struggle" (???), so therefore Obama is a communist mole? (???)

Out of nicety I used ??? instead a more appropriate acronym wtf...

Earl, has to be a liberal mole out to destroy the Tea Party from inside!... That is just too embarrassing for the Tea Party to have ever come out accidentally. It has to be done on purpose to make mocker of the Tea Party's intelligence quota; it has to be done on purpose in order to show to all, how the Tea Party is desperately grasping at the tiniest of straws because everything they have ever stood for is being proven absolutely wrong, and everyone in the entire population is now finding out they were full of nothing but fake hot air....

That has to be the most ridiculous assertion ever made on these pages, or any pages... even Pizza is smart enough to know it is a huge joke and never attempts to offer proof...

Oh my goodness, I can't believe how dumb this Tea Party really is... Ha, ha, ha... It's hysterical... That not only did they pass it to each other on their "revolutionary hot line" lol but that one of them dare make it public and open the entire organization to HUGE ridicule... Lol.. You guys crack me up....

Imagine a country being run by you-guys... ha. ha. ha.. Oh wait a minute... Somalia is run on Tea Party principles!.... ha, ha, ha...

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 12:13pm
kavips: WTF...you mean Winning the Future? Great slogan/acronym Team 0Bama chose ;)

The subject of the article I linked to was about young Obama's mentor Frank Chapman...an avowed Communist Party member who mentored our dear leader when he was an impressionable youth. Frank Chapman was referenced by the president himself (or Bill Ayers) in his book Dreams FROM my Father as his mentor and the man was literally a card-carrying Party Member.

But don't take my word for it or even the New Zealander's...try some actual research for yourself. The press sure didn't dig into 0bama's past as they did for Bush, McCain, and Romney...if they had they would have documented the fact that our president grew up with radicals who don't like America...he launched his presidential beginnings in Bill Ayer's (Pentagon bomber/Weather Underground terrorist/community organizer) house for crying out loud.

As you said, the article was written before the '08 election in hopes of warning Americans before voting for an unknown entity. But all this talk is useless because he is our president now...hopefully the citizens of this country will learn the lesson of voting for a person who has not truly been vetted or researched next time.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 12:15pm
What do we REALLY know about Hillary?

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 12:37pm
The New Zealander (kiwi) also has a pretty cool website...keywiki.org

Hillary Clinton background/info:


Wed, Dec 11, 2013 1:48pm
Earl provided a link to some New Zealand website which displayed a copy of Hillary's Wikipedia article before the site froze and crashed my browser. Now I will have to do a security scan to make sure the New Zealand website didn't infect my computer while it was making my browser crash.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 1:52pm
...worked fine for me.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 2:46pm
I'm glad Earl is wising up.... this comment... "all this talk is useless because he is our president now" gives us some hope the Tea Party will put it to rest, then, put themselves to rest.

For if one looks at the damage the Tea Party has done to America since 2010, most economists estimate it ranges between 40-56 Trillion dollars... Of course, I'll admit they are using projections to come to that, but still, had both houses remained Democratic after that, and the Bush tax-cuts been repealed, the growth of the economy alone would make up most of that number....

The Tea Party ruined America.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 3:28pm
The Tea Party ruined America? I thought the "Teahadis" were just silly people running around with tri-cornered hats and Don't Tread on Me flags...how did this little minority group ruin all of America?

According to TheDailyBeast it is now DINO-hunting season...doesn't sound good for Democrats in 2014.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 6:50pm
Your were also very hopeful that Cain would get the Republican nomination and stomp Democrats to smithereens....

You don't predict well.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 7:52pm
I support Raul Castro for president in 2016.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 8:33pm
Good, we'll mark you down then for Rubio... Same thing.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 10:23pm
I.....uh, don't think so.

Thu, Dec 12, 2013 12:22am
kavips: I am predicting a repeat of 2010 for the Republicans in 2014...but I never predicted Cain would win anything, nor did I think he would "make the cut"...only thing Cain had going for him was his 9/9/9Plan.

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