Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

In a previous post, Profitized Medicine, I quoted from T. R. Reid’s book, The Healing of America:  A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care.

The following  is quoted from pages 186 and 187.

On occasion, the incentives built into the U.S. health care system are downright perverse.  Because awareness of  a preexisting condition can lead to higher insurance premiums – or outright denial of coverage – some Americans deliberately avoid physical exams or other medical tests for fear of losing their health insurance.   This means they avoid the preventive care that might help control the condition; eventually, they’ll have to go to a doctor for treatment, running up vastly higher costs for the system.  Beyond that, health insurers are sometimes more likely to pay for treating disease than for preventing it.  “Insurers  will often refuse to pay $150 for a diabetic to see a podiatrist, who can help prevent foot ailments,” the New York Times noted.  “Nearly all of them, though, cover amputations, which typically cost more than $30,000.  Patients have trouble securing [insurance] reimbursement for  a $75 visit to the nutritionist who counsels them on controlling their diabetes.   Insurers do not balk, however, at paying $315 for a session of dialysis, which treats one of the disease’s serious complications.”

Wow, not that’s really shortsighted.  How do these profiting making insurance companies explain to their stockholders paying for a $30,000 amputation but denying a $150 for a diabetic to see a podiatrist (which may have prevented the insurance company from paying $30,000)?  Indeed, penny wise but pound foolish.

IMHO, every American age 18 and above should read T. R. Reid’s book.  That would include the members of Congress.


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