[FoRK] Accidental theorist lost, wanted back

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Thu Jul 16 14:43:20 PDT 2009

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> On Jul 16, 2009, at 1:50 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> As just one clear example of the kind of artificially enforced 
>> inefficiencies:
>> Many people have severe snoring and sleep apnea, which is now known 
>> to cause several issues.  You can buy a CPAP device and mask for as 
>> little as $300 that cures the problem with essentially no risks to a 
>> reasonably healthy person.  Except it is RX only, so the minimum 
>> costs of the process and equipment amount to $2000-4000.
>> Or people who go for appointments ($100-180 for a specialist) to have 
>> measurements taken that could have been done at home.  Temp and blood 
>> pressure devices are available at the pharmacy, however pulse/Ox and 
>> ECG machines are supposed to be RX only.  You can get a pocket 
>> pulse/ox for <$100 and a pocket, recording ECG with display for 
>> $400.  An office ECG probably costs $200 each.  (They are better, but 
>> the pocket device is good enough for many checks.)
> In other words, deregulation of the medical industry would markedly 
> reduce cost.
> Yet all the standard paternalistic arguments for the regulation still 
> very much apply in the cases you cite above. Are we finally at the 
> point where we as a society are willing to slightly increase the 
> incidence of bad outcomes for significant reductions in cost? I doubt it.

There has to be some room to improve, possibly drastically.  I do what I 
can: I self-diagnose, use over the counter when it works as well (or 
better in a couple cases), and find other efficiencies.  I think I've 
mentioned before that I found that I could get an xray to rule out 
fracture for $20 at my chiropractor.

I've been galled by the system a lot too though.

The thing is, we have more worse outcomes now than we would with a more 
informed, self-service medical pattern.  People avoid going to the 
hospital because it is far too expensive and usually ineffective, avoid 
the doctor, stop treatment, etc.  I just met a woman Sunday who had 3 
broken ribs and a collapsed lung who avoided going to the hospital for a 

If we could see the nearest "medic" for 5 minutes to solve or rule-out 
problems, we'd all be much better off.  The amount of time wasted on 
appointments, missed work, travel, waiting, etc. is terrible.  We don't 
put up with it in much of the rest of our lives, but we're stuck with 
the old model for medicine, mostly.

> J. Andrew Rogers

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