I had a comment in the Red Meat, Global warming post that asked me to describe how the various health care systems stack-up. This, in response to my statement that socialized medicine tends to become a serious mess. My response to that question, instead of weighing the merits of the US system vs say the Canadain system, was to point out that veterinary medicine is a pretty good example of what the real costs of medicine are when we do not have a 3rd payer system inflating costs. Here is that response:
Veternary medicine. it reflects the REAL costs of treatment, people pay as they go, even in installments and there is not a sense that one should get treatment for free. What about the poor? I have never seen a vet that did not have some sliding fee scales or who did not do some percentage of free work for folks who actually are in significant need.
(Interestingly, they CAN do this because their business is profitable, they WANT to do this because of a deep sense of compassion…hence their chosen profession. Perhaps this will be the case for human medicine one day…)
V- This is almost comical. but you are wanting me to compare one fucked up system (ours in the US) with another fucked up system (lets say the UK or Canada) this is the same path to endlessly chasing one’s tail as comparing the french diet with the american diet…one might be slightly better than the other, both are woefully sub-optimal.
The direction health care is going would be like home insurance that covers your light-bulbs and lawn maintenance or auto insurance that covers gas and oil. The purpose of insurance SHOULD be to offset catastrophic occurrences. If medical insurance was like this, then we paid out of pocket for health maintenance…ya know, the REAL cost, the system would be like auto insurance. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but its infinitely better than medical insurance…interestingly, it got BETTER when one was allowed to shop around and find the best policy for YOU. You know…that free market stuff again. Also, no one is talking about an “auto-insurance” crisis. Why? because it’s market based and it works.
Here is an irony that ties into the earlier global warming post. Glaxosmithklien unleashed Lovaza last year. For those unfamiliar with the product, it is a PRESCRIPTION fish oil. Andy Deas sent me this link to Dr. William Davis’ blog. Dr. Davis has a great analysis of the situation which boils down to this: Prescription Lovaza is $3360/year for the recommended dosage, Costco’s Kirkland brand (which I’ve recommended for over 5 years…Brad and I put their QA/QC department through the ringer….their product is legit) is $150/year for the same amount of EPA/DHA.
As Dr. Davis points out, Lovaza is a prescription and thus eligible for insurance reimbursement. He also points out that those costs do not disappear, we all take it in the fanny. If people had to pay out of pocket (or from a Health Savings Account) they would REALLY want to know why they should pay $3360/year vs $150/year. The bullshit of “Lovaza is a prescription drug which has been studied and is USDA approved” sounds pretty hollow when you look at the disparity in price. Especially when there are thousands of studies showing significant health benefit from fish oil, none of which happened to be Lovaza.
You know what would be funny? to get glazosmithklein to go kick the collective asses of the people saying fish oil is not as effective for health as was thought (all the while changing tactics and talking about sustainability). Let big pharma go after the anti-fishoil-nutters while we promote grassfed meat, single payer medicine and lululemon pants for all hot women (lululemon is scientifically proven to make averages asses look amazing, amazing asses almost too good to view).
I forgot that Andy sent a follow-up post from Dr. Davis. I get some fishy comments that I can not figure out if they are spam or something like this…an industry shill who is trying to shed some doubt on the obvious.
The product thing is interesting…I want to sell a book off this blog, perhaps a DVD or two at some point. We’ve had a food product in the works for YEARS. I’d like to develop and sell that. Perhaps one day I will have some kind of fish oil offered from the site and in the gym, but I’ll never hype that product as the end-all. There are no magic pills or solutions (well…unless you can hit a pharmacy in central America…ohhhh winstrol…). I’m not super familiar with Dr. Davis but he seems like a pretty stand-up guy. He appears to send his patients to Costco to get their fish oil…what I like about that is you are paying the person for their expertise/coaching. Not an overhyped, overpriced product. If you recall I love open markets, I’m all for people making money but I have serious issues with entities that prety on peoples fears and ignorance to make a buck.