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US Does Too Much Preventative Medicine

From the relentless propagandists at the orchestrated Associated Press:

Experts say US doctors overtesting, overtreating

By Lindsey Tanner, AP Medical Writer

March 12, 2010

CHICAGO – Too much cancer screening, too many heart tests, too many cesarean sections. A spate of recent reports suggest that too many Americans — maybe even President Barack Obama — are being overtreated.

Is it doctors practicing defensive medicine? Or are patients so accustomed to a culture of medical technology that they insist on extensive tests and treatments?

A combination of both is at work, but now new evidence and guidelines are recommending a step back and more thorough doctor-patient conversations about risks and benefits.

You see, doctors never talked to their patients before. By the way, notice that almost all of the procedures that the AP cites here are tests done under the heading of ‘preventative medicine.’

Never mind that Mr. Obama and the Democrats have long touted how their ‘healthcare reform’ will allow everyone to get much more preventative medicine and save us trillions of dollars in the long run. Clearly, those promises were ‘just words.’

As a medical journal editorial said this week about Obama’s recent checkup, Americans including the commander in chief need to realize that "more care is not necessarily better care."

Obama’s exam included prostate cancer screening and a virtual colonoscopy. The PSA test for prostate cancer is not routinely recommended for any age and colon screening is not routinely recommended for patients younger than 50. Obama is 48.

Earlier colon cancer screening is sometimes recommended for high-risk groups — which a White House spokesman noted includes blacks.

Since Mr. Obama is only half black, perhaps he should have only had half a colonoscopy.

Doctors disagree on whether a virtual colonoscopy is the best method. But it’s less invasive than traditional colonoscopies and doesn’t require sedation — or the possible temporary transfer of presidential power, the White House said

Thankfully, we were spared President Joe Biden. But you have to wonder what Mr. Obama is afraid of. Nobody messes with Joe.

"People have come to equate tests with good care and prevention," Redberg, a cardiologist with the University of California at San Francisco, said in an interview Thursday. "Prevention is all the things your mother told you — eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, don’t smoke — and we’ve made it into getting a new test."

You see, it is far easier and more lucrative for the government to tell us how to live and to tax things that are bad for us, like salt — rather than to pay for these annoying tests.

This week alone, a New England Journal of Medicine study suggested that too many patients are getting angiograms — invasive imaging tests for heart disease — who don’t really need them; and specialists convened by the National Institutes of Health said doctors are too often demanding repeat cesarean deliveries for pregnant women after a first C-section.

Last week, the American Cancer Society cast more doubt on routine PSA tests for prostate cancer. And a few months ago, other groups recommended against routine mammograms for women in their 40s, and for fewer Pap tests looking for cervical cancer.

Experts dispute how much routine cancer screening saves lives. It also sometimes detects cancers that are too slow-growing to cause harm, or has false-positive results leading to invasive but needless procedures — and some risks. Treatment for prostate cancer that may be too slow-growing to be life-threatening can mean incontinence and impotence. Angiograms carry a slight risk for stroke or heart attack.

Not all doctors and advocacy groups agree with the criticism of screening. Many argue that it can improve survival chances and that saving even a few lives is worth the cost of routinely testing tens of thousands of people.

But what do they know? Besides, these are the doctors who will no probably longer be practicing in the brave new world of ‘healthcare reform.’

Dr. Peter Pronovost, a Johns Hopkins University patient safety expert, said routine testing is often based on bad science, or on guidelines that quickly become outdated as new science emerges.

The recent shift in focus reflects evolving research on the benefits and risks of screening.

You see, this "recent shift in focus" has nothing to do with the need to accustom people to getting fewer tests under our new and improved ‘Obama-care.’

While some patients clearly do benefit from screening, others clearly do not, said Dr. Richard Wender, former president of the American Cancer Society.

These include very old patients, who may unrealistically fear cancer and demand a screening test, when their risks are far higher of dying from something else, Wender said

Stupid old people. Who cares if they have cancer? They’re going to die anyway.

Doctors also often order tests or procedures to protect themselves against lawsuits — so-called defensive medicine — and also because the fee-for-service system compensates them for it, said Dr. Gilbert Welch, a Dartmouth University internist and health outcomes researcher…

Luckily, getting fee-for-service compensation for tests won’t be much of a temptation under Obama-care.

While many patients also demand routine tests, they’re often bolstered by advertisements, medical information online — and by doctors, too, Welch said

It looks like Obama-care is going to have to ban advertisements for medical treatments.

"To some extent we’ve taught them to demand these things," he said. "We’ve systematically exaggerated the benefits of early diagnosis," which doesn’t always improve survival. "We don’t always tell people there might actually be downsides" to testing.

Look at how everything has been turned upside down to justify the coming cuts the quality of treatment we will enjoy under ‘healthcare reform.’ It really is Orwellian. This is ‘newspeak’ at its finest.

Jennifer Traig, an Ann Arbor, Mich., author of a book about hypochondria, says patients like her often think, "I’m getting better care if we’re checking for more things."

Traig has had many costly high-tech tests, including an MRI and several heart-imaging tests, for symptoms that turned out to be nothing. She thinks doctors were right to order those tests, but that counseling could have prevented her from "wasting resources" and getting tests it turned out she didn’t need

You see, we are a nation of hypochondriacs. Fortunately, Obama-care will cure us of that, too.

All in all, it’s painfully clear that the whole point of this article is to convince us to accept a lower standard of healthcare. Being told that we really don’t need an angiogram is going to be the new norm under ‘Obama-care.’ So we had better damn well get used to it.

The AP is merely doing its part in trying to convince us that we will really be much better off with much less health care. Just as other media watchdogs have done in recent months.

Besides, what’s more important? Getting an angiogram before we drop dead from a heart attack – or social justice?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 12th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “US Does Too Much Preventative Medicine”

  1. proreason says:

    Maybe if patients thought they were paying for medical services they would pay more attention.

    If it’s free, I want two of them.

  2. 64dodger says:

    If we had tort reform maybe we could stop some of this. Nah we can’t have something that would really drive down costs could we?

  3. Mithrandir says:

    Interesting how the media likes chumming the waters isn’t it? I am just surprised the AP was so direct with the title of the article. Usually these folks put their opinion in the form of a question to make it sound like they are not sure:

    Does the U.S. do too much preventive maintenance?

  4. Reality Bytes says:

    Case Study – So my old man who paid taxes for 8 decades not to mention delivered hundreds of B25’s around the pacific saving California Japanese being it’s official language – the guy comes down with wet macular degeneration the same week the FDA approves Avastin as the new wonder cure for such a thing.

    The procedure required I get him up to the retinaologist with walker, dementia & a wicked sense of timing & humor so the doctor can inject it with a needle into the old man’s eye once every six weeks.

    Turns out it worked – Dad kept his sight for the last 3-4 years of his life. Had he not had the operation – the disease would have eventually ruptured his eye.

    So what would Obamacare have done? “Sorry Pop – they’re gonna have to take your eye.”

    It’s the smart decision according to our feckless leader.

    Did I mention my Dad delivered hundreds of B25’s around the Pacific?

  5. MinnesotaRush says:

    “Too much cancer screening, too many heart tests, too many cesarean sections.”

    Good grief!!! Don’t forget all those tonsilectomies and amputations that doctors are racing to do to make the appointment worthwhile!

    The all knowing, all seeing o-blah-blah will put an end to that hokey pokey, too.

  6. GL0120 says:

    Um, let’s see, who once said “Give me Social Justice and give me death?”

  7. philmarlowe says:

    Doctors do seem to be too cautious these days, ordering expensive tests for what – at times – seem to be fairly innocuous symptoms.

    How many of these tests are generated by the fear of getting sued?

  8. JohnMG says:

    …..”The PSA test for prostate cancer is not routinely recommended for any age and colon screening is not routinely recommended for patients younger than 50. Obama is 48……”

    Yeah, but this in not just some ORDINARY asshole we’re talking about. This is Obama.

    • Reality Bytes says:

      Oh yeah! forgot. The ol’ man had came down w/ colon cancer at 78. Lived to 92 after remission. What would his over/under have been w/ Obamoroncare?

    • GL0120 says:

      Did anyone catch the joke on one of the late shows recently – “Obama had a colonoscopy; they didn’t find any polyps but they did find two MSNBC reporters and a New York Times Columnist.”

  9. GetBackJack says:

    Experts say that American doctors are over-testing and over-treating their patients. But how else will my kid get unlimited time on their SATs if I don’t have them checked for Restless Leg Syndrome?

    That said … RB, I salute your Dad, baby. Outdamnstanding.

    And Pro … you just keep cranking out the hits. When somebody else foots the bill, the bill gets huge and useless. But when it’s MY money, somehow competition drives down the price and seriously ups the quality.


  10. Mae says:

    God love ya, JohnMG! LOL!

  11. canary says:

    AP, media, nor the government has no business practicing medicine without a license. The (R) Senator Doctor from Wyoming said his wife would have died from cancer under the the new guidelines.
    No one will be able to sue any Federal govt insurance program. If they cut the wrong leg off, they’ll just correct the mistake by cutting the correct leg off.

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