People who argue that patients are too dumb to make their own health care decisions rarely consider how dumb government is. According to yesterday’s New York Times:
In a significant policy change, Bush administration officials say that Medicare will no longer pay the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals, a move they say could save lives and millions of dollars.
That’s right. For the past 42 years, the federal government has paid hospitals to give grandma an infection, drop her on the floor, or leave a sponge inside her – and then paid the hospital more to put her back together again. That is, if the infection didn’t kill her.
Does anyone really believe that if each patient controlled the health care dollars that employers and the government now control, that it would take patients 42 years to stop rewarding hospitals for medical errors? In other areas of your life, how often do you give more money to a business that screwed you over?