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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote in Good Health

Election Day, at last! Tomorrow, barring any hanging chads, the country should have a new president elect.

Health Care Reform
Each candidate has said prevention will be an important part of health care reform under their administration. The Kaiser Family Foundation does a good job of comparing the two presidential candidates' health care plans. See especially the side-by-side comparison of health care issues.

Is Prevention a Myth?
Both candidates' health plans operate under a false premise that prevention will reduce costs and improve health, argues H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy. Both candidates support preventive medicine, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, says Welch.

Senator John McCain says that “by emphasizing prevention” and other measures “we can reduce health care costs.”

Presidential hopeful Obama's plan says that in the absence "of a radical shift towards prevention and public health, we will not be successful in containing medical costs or improving the health of the American people.”

But these days, preventive medicine means not just a healthy lifestyle, but early diagnosis through testings and screenings, and there's the rub, Welch writes in an opinion piece appearing in the New York Times.

Early diagnosis costs money, rather than saving it, through over diagnosis -- and unnecessary treatment, believes Welch. If not handled right, preventive medicine can end up costing money. It's an interesting argument and one worth following.

Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, I'm going out to vote!

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