I was listening today to the episode "This American Life" recently devoted to health-care reform, and I got totally hung up on one thing in the last story. It is generally about the negotiations between insurance companies and hospitals, and the reporter and the economists he speaks to assert multiple times that the real problem with the current healthcare system in the US is that patients don't care what procedures cost; that we're all wasting insurance companies' money on unnecessary tests and treatments. Apparently, if we had to pay some fraction of the cost for every procedure, we wouldn't go frivolously having biopsies and taking maintenance medications.
I really don't have time to get into this tonight, but I am writing up some thoughts (including every Professional Scientist's favorite complaint, that a test that returns a negative result is not a waste of time, it is still valid data) and will say more another day. This is an area where I have a hard time staying removed from the issue: it feels so personal and immediate, what if I was in that situation?