Like most of America, I can recite the point-counterpoint debate on healthcare reform. On one side you have allegations of death panels and on the other you have hollow promises of no care rationing. Both sides offer nothing more than vague rhetoric. Prostate cancer offers us a glimpse of the future.
I have long advocated that the government’s desires to control healthcare costs are incompatible with an individual desire’s to live. Prostate cancer is a case in point. For the last several years, there has been growing evidence that prostate cancer has been over diagnosed. This has largely been through increased screening of the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). Today’s article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute provides further evidence of this.
However, it is one thing to identify the trend. It is another thing entirely to ration care based on this. This is more than a lesson in economics. Making care decisions based on cost is equivalent to the Government practicing medicine. How can you tell which individuals will progress into life-threatening cancer vs. men which will have a more modest and non-life threatening form of the disease? The federal government is willing to bet that men’s prostate cancer isn’t as emotionally charged as women’s breast cancer. For the federal government, 30,000 dead men every year is acceptable collateral damage in their war on “excessive” costs.
I’m not debating the macroeconomic issue of over-diagnosing prostate cancer. I’m stating simply – if you are a human being alive in America, you have your own best interests in mind. Your government doesn’t.
Health reform doesn’t have anything to do with actually reforming healthcare. What we’re really talking about is Finance Reform – changing how healthcare is paid for and how much is paid. Healthcare reform isn’t about health – it’s about money. Do you want to trust your health to a bunch of Government officials you’ve never met?