Posted // 2010-05-20 -
Atlas Health Care study finds Provo
leads the nation in shoulder-replacement surgery. The result, likely of
physician-owned clinics, pimping the procedure a little too aggressively. In
other words, “market forces” have struck again.
Generally frugal Utah—often lauded
by even President Obama—have been found subject to commercial traps of
aggressive marketing that tend to drive Medicare costs up through the roof. Critics are saying the proliferation of physician-owned
clinics and the expansion of local hospitals like Intermountain Healthcare are
prompting hospitals to get their money’s worth out fancy new facilities and
equipment. For Utahns this means new shoulders for everybody!
The downside for Obama is that many of the cost-cutting
measures used by Utah
hospitals and healthcare providers were some of his key bullet points in how to
counteract the trillion plus price tag for Obamacare.
Double fail when you consider that if Utah healthcare providers are driving up
Medicare costs through overzealous shoulder replacements, with cost-controlling measures already in place, then other cities and
states are going to feel the Medicare pressure even worse. Ultimately the reason why formerly thrifty communities are
feeling a Medicare bump, according to the good folks of Kaiser Health News and the Washington Post, is the same reason all over: Healthcare is a business,
and every hospital and doctor has to keep up with the Dr. Joneses through a
game of unnecessary one-upsmanship.
But I guess there’s no real way to address this
fundamental problem right? If only there was some kind of “single-payer” system
out there that could provide coverage to all and curb costs through unnecessary
spending. Hmmm…if only such a thing existed anywhere in the world. Alas...