Too little for prevention
Robert Dixon wrote a good letter that fit well beside the editorial “The public’s business.” The editorial noted, “When the taxpayers are the ones footing the bill, they should have a right to know how their money is spent.”
In that regard, employers and employees (i.e., the public) are footing the bills that support all of the researchers, insurers, actuaries, hospitals, nurses, doctors and wellness advisors acting on health-related concerns. The public deserves accurate information on how the money is spent and what value is obtained. Dixon was right in recognizing that when adverse health events are prevented, no funds need to be transferred to all those health care personnel.
The national Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says that cardiovascular disease is one of the most preventable diseases, but it also predicts that the U.S. public will lose $503 billion in 2010 as more than one in three (81 million) adults live with one or more types of cardiovascular disease. The public’s loss is someone’s gain, but not the public’s. The current system gives so much for treatments and so little for prevention!
The people already profiting from the current flow of funds seem little motivated to show valid information to the public about which services give value by preventing actual causes (and their costs) and which services are simply treating signs and symptoms. Treatments that leave the primary causes unchanged leave a continued need for future medication costs and cause future generations to follow the same pathway to disease and financial loss.
The public deserves better accountability for how much of their money is actually preventing future financial losses from preventable disease. It also deserves better information on valid ways to prevent primary causes of disease rather than waiting until disease develops and then treating only its signs and symptoms. Who will manage the conflicts between marketing and ethics?