In a recent article, Cost of Obesity, the authors make a very interesting point. We all assume that by taking better care of ourselves and achieving lower weights that we will be healthier and be less of a burden on the health care system. This article points out an obvious problem with this logic; if these obese patients lose weight, they LIVE LONGER AND COST MORE.
So, perhaps there is another way to be a loyal and patriotic citizen? Perhaps patients should be paid to do dangerous and unhealthy, but fun activities. We should cancel all helmet laws – sure more head injuries, but most will die younger and save money.
Perhaps the government should subsidize McDonald’s rather than the oil companies? Also, if the patients begin dying much younger, they will use less petroleum products in their lifetime.
So, it seems that preventive and healthy care will kill the system. I say tax incentives for any really bad habits we have. In fact, why not encourage murder? Each murder would save tons of money?
I am only partially joking. Few people are aware that in 1988 the “right to die” legislation was passed. It was tied to other Medicare legislation no longer giving incentives to hospitals for long term care. The hospitals would be paid by DRG or “Diagnosis Related Group”. This is essentially a fixed fee for a certain patient. In other words no financial incentive to keep the patients alive longer, so letting them choose death was to be “encouraged”. I know this is dark and seems nuts, but I was there practicing Internal Medicine in Santa Monica at the time, and trust me, this is what happened.