More applied healthcare studies . . .

The Miracle of Mid-20th Century Medicine. Croup for baby –> bronchitis for mom.  But, through the magic of amoxicillin, I went from a person who got winded checking e-mail and had to go lay down, to a more or less normal person who cooks dinner and potters in the garden.  Within about three days.   I’m a person who crusades against antibiotic overuse, but there’s definitely a time and place.  Still not 100%, but getting there.

As it relates to health care reform:

a) I was definitely happy to have a $25 co-pay instead of a huge office-visit bill, in order to go see my GP and get dx’d and prescribed.  (Yay Publix pharmacy, though, for free oral antibiotics.  Not that amoxicillin is all that expensive to begin with.)

b) But really, there’s got to be a better, lower-cost model for delivering this kind of basic care.  Health insurance makes it easier for one to afford the office visit — mostly by spreading out the cost over time and among buyers — but it doesn’t actually lower the cost of care.   Just as I wouldn’t go to the ER for something that can be treated by the GP, there ought to be a widely-available step-down option for conditions like this one that didn’t require all the training and equipment of the GP even.

c) Prescription Drugs and Responsibility vs. Safety (Or: What do I do with my leftover cough suppressant?) The way we set up our prescription drug laws is a real cost-benefit trade-off.  In the interest of safety, the law, as I understand it, says that you’ve got to destroy perfectly good medicine if you don’t need it yourself for your current condition.   From a purely economic standpoint, this approach prevents harm, and therefore makes us wealthier.   But it also makes up poorer, because we have to destroy valuable property in the interest of safety.

Because I happen to be a responsible person related to a number of intelligent, responsible, honest people, I tend to lean towards liberalizing the law.   I travel in circles where you really could borrow some prescription cough supressant from your in-laws, and it would be done safely and honestly, and hey we even have the same GP so he could chart it.   I don’t know the details of what I am proposing.  But I know that a lot of people (not myself) violate the laws concerning sharing prescription drugs, because they find in their particular situation the law does more harm than good.

–> And it is damaging to the fabric of society, when large numbers of would-be law-abiding citizens feel it is acceptable to break the law, and in fact do so in order to do genuine good. Prescription drug laws are not like laws against robbery or murder.  Helping another person by freely giving them what their doctor has prescribed is not inherently evil.

Now I realize the law is there to protect against fraud, and to protect against the injury or death that can occur if you use the wrong medicine, or the right medicine in the wrong amounts.  I understand this. I do not propose we eliminate all safeguards.

What I’m saying is that our current laws don’t seem to quite match-up with our best interests.  As far as I can tell.

Topic on which I do not have a firm opinion at this time.  Still thinking about it.

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