Tag Archives: health

Death sure is cost-effective, isn’t it?

I just read Death Be Not Proud (But It Is Cost-Effective) by Chez Pazienza. In his story, Chez talks about his stay in the hospital to have a marble-sized brain tumor removed. Across the room during his stay in neuro ICU, he saw a person far worse off than himself: staples all around his head, barely able to stay conscious, unable to speak. After a few days of this, Chez asked the nurse what had happened to the other person.

It was the same thing.

The difference? Chez had good insurance, and the other person didn’t. So Chez got the modern surgery with the latest technology, and the other guy got the Neolithic version. The other patient’s family came to visit, clearly heartbroken at his condition, not knowing whether he’d ever be the same. And knowing that even if he’d survive, he’d have years of physical therapy ahead of him.

Then there was the story of the girl whose insurance company denied a liver transplant, calling it “experimental”, sending her to her death. He says:

Regardless of what Fox business-creature Neil Cavuto may have to say on the subject, healthcare and profit are two thoroughly antithetical concepts. Giving CEOs the authority to stand on the edge of the arena and issue a final thumbs-up or down while we lay incapacitated or dying is like charging a lion with protecting the Christians.

I entirely agree.

American Priorities

Number of people killed on Sept. 11, 2001: 2,974
Number of suicides in 2004: 32,439
Number of people killed on American highways in 2006: 38,588
Annual deaths from obesity: 300,000
Total deaths from cancer in 2007: 559,650
Total deaths from heart disease in 2004: 871,500
Total military spending in FY2008: $1228 billion
Funding for health research & improvement (NIH): $29 billion
Total support of Amtrak (safer, cleaner than highways): $1.6 billion
National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. spending in FY2008: $0.8 billion