Sunday, April 22, 2012

Health Insurance or Health Care?

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I need someone to help me out. I am confused. Living through the 70's and 80's I heard a constant stream of chatter regarding the increasing cost of health care.  New technologies, new diagnoses, new treatments, people living longer, more people, it all kind of made sense.

Enter the 90's, the conversation seemed to switch from the cost of health care to the cost of health insurance.  People began to expect their health insurance to pay for more and more items. Insurance costs naturally rose. See this web page .

Enter the new millennium. Drug companies began to advertise directly to the patient/consumer.  TV became overrun with ads for every type of pharmaceutical imaginable. (Big difference now is it is targeted: which ads you get depends which channels you watch, which web sites you visit, which magazines you read.)  Most of these drugs are sold only with a prescription, which means that a doctor has to initiate any purchase. Why advertise to the patient? Have doctors lost the initiative? Are patients now prescribing treatment?  If the inmates are running the asylum, its not surprising the cost are going up, no matter who pays.

Procon.org makes the claim that the US and New Zealand are the only countries where "direct to consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs is legal". (See this.)

Is this country going to control its health care costs or be controlled by its health care costs?

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