Tuesday, January 12, 2010

''They're not going to save you any money. I can sit down and write 100 ways to save on health care.''

I saw an article (via Newsalert) about a new book that sounded interesting called 101 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare:

Fighting a stomach bug? Stay home and drink Gatorade or make your own rehydration solution using one teaspoon of salt, eight teaspoons of sugar, five cups of water and an optional half-cup of fruit juice.

Want a cheap way to banish those acne blemishes? Use an over-the-counter product with benzoyl peroxide, a tried-and-true, inexpensive acne treatment.

Need a wheelchair? Check out your local Goodwill or Salvation Army stores.

These are just a few of the no-nonsense, consumer-friendly tips offered by Akron family medicine specialist Dr. Cynthia Koelker in her new self-published book, 101 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare.

''I wrote this for the patient,'' Koelker said. ''If people would take the time to look around, they would find a lot of things.''

During 20 years in solo practice in Akron's Ellet neighborhood, Koelker has dispensed plenty of advice to patients looking to make their medical care more affordable.

So when she heard politicians on TV early last year talking about how they wanted to fix the nation's health-care system, she thought: ''They're not going to save you any money. I can sit down and write 100 ways to save on health care.''


I kind of like the idea that this doctor felt there was something she wanted to say, in the way she wanted to say it and self-published her own book. Just for that alone, it makes me want to support her by buying it.

Labels:

31 Comments:

Blogger Peregrine John said...

Likewise! This seriously appeals to me.

6:46 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger BarryD said...

One can certainly counter that serious and life-threatening illness or injury could be ignored, and that people could die without immediate medical attention if they "just drink Gatorade."

...except that I've had nasty stomach bugs, and all a doctor ever did was give me an off-kilter 100th-generation Xerox of the same thing, typed up on an ancient Selectric and copied, apparently by every doctor in the United States. It was a diet, showing how you start with some Gatorade, and work your way up to chicken broth and mashed potatoes -- and the advice that, if you still seemed close to death after a week, you should see your doctor again.

7:02 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

I've done the crutches thing. And when done, I donated them back. Saved a huge amount of money, especially since not all insurances work.

PS. Gatorade with a stomach bug? Gatorade is disgusting anyway, but I can't imagine using it. Once I get water down, I start with canned peaches and jello.

7:20 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

*Not all insurances cover the full cost of crutches due to deductibles or because they just don't.

7:21 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Trust said...

But the truth doesn't elect democrats.

10:43 PM, January 12, 2010  
Blogger Maureen said...

Gatorade isn't disgusting if you're really dehydrated. "This Gatorade actually tastes good" is a warning sign. And yes, Gatorade will stove you up if you have diarrhea. It's the salt and minerals. PediaCare is pretty much UN anti-diarrhea Gatorade.

Of course, whiskey or other strong alcohols will stove you up, too, as well as killing the stomach bug. But it's no good if you're vomiting at the same time, or taking pills that don't go well with alcohol, or you're a little kid.

8:31 AM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

Democrats believe that getting other people to pay for your health care means it costs less.

8:46 AM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

It was never about saving money. It was about CONTROL from the beginning.

10:23 AM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

When an insurance company (or the government) is paying for a product or service, what incentive is there for anyone to shop smartly?

10:45 AM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

The problem with this approach is that it doesn't give the government (and politicians) the opportunity to further take control of your life.

11:07 AM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger Quasimodo said...

102. Don't run to the Doctor for antibiotics when you have a cold.

(WTH does to "stove up" mean)

1:35 PM, January 13, 2010  
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10:06 PM, January 13, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

It is one thing to be critical of Demcorats but then tell us how you would fix the very much broken health care system, wherein the average life expectancy in our nation ranks 20th in the industrialized world and yet we pay (average) twice as much as citizens in every other nation.

I am very wiling to learn how you would fix the broken system.

7:20 AM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Fred,

I'll think about answering your question when you can explain why life expectancy is the be-all, end-all metric for health care system efficiency in a highly diverse country with lots of immigration.

8:30 AM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

In one sense, the answer to Fred's question is pretty simple: All we have to do is eliminate diversity and restore this nation to being a White, Anglo-Saxon nation. Then we will have the highest standard of health in the world, and our cost will drop considerably.

Admittedly, that is difficult to do, but it points directly to where the high costs and high mortality figures come from. The costs and mortality are much lower in homogeneous societies.

10:26 AM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

Ah, we have immigrants and that is whyh so low a life expectancy. But the stats I have seen show that overall population--how many of us are recent immigrants?--yields so low a life expectancy. Now you may not care to use that as a measure, but that is one standard that health officials do consider: both life expectancy and expectancy for babies.
What the figures yield seems to suggest that if one is not able to get health care, exams regularly etc then chances of getting ill and dying go up.
I can name friends who, laid off, no longer can afford to buy or no longer have help in getting health insurance.Now that is a real problem.

11:05 AM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

In fact it is old age that gets people going over and over to doctors, emergency rooms,etc--why not keep our immigrants and eliminate all those over a certain age? My mother included.

11:07 AM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

people here consume healthcare as long as it`s paid for by thier benefits. when they have dig into thier own pockets they think twice.

part of the problem with that is that people believe that they`ve already paid for the healthcare with thier taxes and so, if the healthcare service isn`t covered, they don`t use it....whether it is effective or not.

i have experience with people being convinced that chiropractic would help them stop smoking...because it was covered under thier plan...even though they had clear evidence that my treatment using hypnosis worked with someone thy knew.

there are those who are lobbying to have hypnosis coved by health plans, and some are for a limited amount....but still people would reather choose an ineffective treatment that they didn`t have to pay for(again)

11:54 AM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I believe we've been thought this life expectancy question before. For the slow learners, there are reasons life expectancy and health care delivery are not related.

Examples:
Car accident fatalities per 100,000 people:
For 2002
United States: 14.9
Canada: 9.3
United Kingdom: 6.1

Murder rates:
24. United States with 0.042802 per thousand people
44. Canada with 0.0149063 per 1,000 people
46. United Kingdom with 0.0140633 per 1,000 people

Of course, it's easier to ask a simplistic question or make a faulty correlation with no idea of what the truth of the matter is than actually do a little research.

12:06 PM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Not directly related, that is.

12:07 PM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

DADvocate,

You're wasting your time and energy if you think you're going to convince any of the people who make that comparison that they're wrong because factors a through z cause the life expectancy figures from the WHO and CIA World Factbook to be absolutely atrocious metrics for comparing health care systems across countries (and even health care systems within countries). I've tried to do the same thing many times before (often times several times to the same people) and it has done no good. These people aren't interested in facts. They, like the politician and pundits who keep making the same arguments, are only interested in their own agendas and will use whatever arguments they must, including arguments based on bad data that they believe, because of their ignorance, to be correct and even outright lies, in an attempt to win (the difference between the politicians who do this and your average moron on the internet who does this is that the politicians know these things (because I've personally sent each member of Congress studies that show that the life expectancy figures from the WHO and the CIA World Factbook can't be used for this purpose) while the average moron on the internet is just that: a moron on the internet).

4:18 PM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"Ah, we have immigrants and that is whyh so low a life expectancy."

American life expectancy is not "low." The top life expectancies are closely clustered at the top, and in any event they are well beyond the point of productive working capacity for most people.

It's not like the US has a life expectancy in the low 50's and it's statistically normal for children to lose their parents in their teen years or fortysomethings to see their older siblings keel over every day.

Secondly, you haven't made any argument as to why life expectancy should be extended as a social goal. This may sound callous, but anyone who has had an ill old relative knows that lots of treatments could "extend" their lives, but at the cost of pain, suffering, dollars they might want to do something else with (i.e. inheritance or charity), the extension of a life racked with late hardship. Lots of people just want to go home and live out their last days in peace without the prodding of docs...there's a point of diminishing returns where the benefit is not really worth the associated cost.

On a national level, costly, painful programs could extend life expectancy, but at what cost? Banning meat or fast food? Throwing smokers in jail? Deporting immigrants with exogenous diseases? Regulating the alcohol content of drinks to be lame "near beer" and thin wine?

Government health care might take away some problems associated with
but it's not going to reduce any costs, and most likely it's not going to boost life expectancy unless it gets really authoritative.

6:47 PM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger kmg said...

Amidst Haiti disaster, women's groups seek to provide aid to women only, denying aid to men.

http://www.the-spearhead.com/2010/01/14/amidst-haiti-disaster-womens-groups-seek-to-deny-relief-to-men/#comment-21018

7:32 PM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

There's actually a sound political reason for enacting policies that reduce life the life expectancy beyond a certain age. Healthier lifestyles don't lead to lower total health care costs but rather to higher total health care costs. The reason? People who don't die of smoking- and obesity-related diseases live long lives where they not only continue to consume health care resources beyond the age at which they might have died had they smoked or eaten themselves to death but also consume huge amounts of health care resources when they later develop expensive-to-treat health conditions that kill people much less efficiently than lung cancer, colon cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and other smoking- and obesity-related diseases. If governments continue to enact policies that extend life even further beyond the point at which most people add value to the economy (and thus produce tax revenues), the cost of providing health care to the elderly will eventually overwhelm the entire health care system and the economy. This problem could be averted by rolling back the age at which people become eligible for redistribution programs, but that's not likely to happen any time in the near or distant future.

9:46 PM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger Stephanie said...

kmg -

Disgusting.

10:45 PM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

fred wrote: "wherein the average life expectancy in our nation ranks 20th in the industrialized world"

It does indeed. And DADvocate provided some great facts. Some more facts are found in America's infant mortality rate, which is horribly high. There are two main reasons, one, we count the statistics for infant death in a more conservative fashion than other countries which may not count children under the age of one month or even one year old as an infant mortality.

Secondly, the teen pregnancy rate in America is twice that of any other industrialized nation. Teens have much higher infant mortality due to their age and very, very poor prenatal care.

These are facts, make them part of your understanding of the issue fred, it will be good for you partner.

Trey

10:56 PM, January 14, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Trey's correct. In addition, we have other factors that shorten life such as gang wars (part of the murder rate mentioned above) and widespread drug use. Gang members who kill each other in their teens or twenties (and this appears to happen thousands of times a year) tend to drive down the national life expectancy figures. We also have over 40,000 highway deaths each year. Americans drive more than people in most European countries, so that's a factor as well.

9:15 AM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

J Bowen is right. If the government wanted to be thrifty and frugal, they'd encourage vus all to take up smoking. Healthier people that live long lives are a bigger drain on the healthcare system and economy than unhealthy people. The ideal taxpayer is one who smokes several packs a day, thereby paying a hefty cigarette tax and then drops dead before they can collect any social security. Fortunately, the US government isn't that coldhearted but I'm not so sure about the Turkish and Chinese governments.

10:45 AM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Since smokers are disproportionately taxed to support programs like children's health insurance, it should be everyone's patriotic duty to buy at least a pack of cigarettes a day. After all, Joe Biden said that paying taxes is patriotic. Now, you don't necessarily have to smoke the cigarettes, just buy them. If you smoke them and die young of a smoking related illness, well, that's just a bonus.

11:30 AM, January 15, 2010  
Blogger kentuckyliz said...

You don't even have to go as far as Turkey or China to find the coldhearted government.

The French government did a public health study to see if they should encourage people to quit smoking.

It showed that people would live longer and their old age social security outlays would skyrocket.

I think retirement age in France is 50 or 55 IIRC.

So France decided:

"Let them smoke cigarettes!"

Re helping women in Haiti:

I didn't read the article, but when I see news footage of young strong males looting and in gangs and dominating the distribution of food and water...anyone who isn't young and strong and male isn't getting the food and water.

So--only the young strong males should survive?

1:00 PM, January 24, 2010  
Blogger kentuckyliz said...

^ I am not supporting wimmin only assistance in Haiti. I just wish Obama had the balls to get the military to re-establish order so young strong male gangs don't steal all the sustenance and everyone benefits. Including old males!

Re health care costs...my cancer bills are around $800k retail, last I checked my spreadsheet.

The health care reform doesn't permit what would solve the problem for most people: catastrophic coverage only policies for the big bill injuries and diseases.

Health insurance doesn't keep you healthy, it protects you against financial disaster.

If you have nothing to lose (no assets besides what's already protected in BK court), you don't really need health insurance. Get the care you need, then declare BK. Use public health departments for basic care. Use free screening days at hospitals.

There's so much free care around here, it's unbelievable.

I'm insured but the hospital social worker still tried to get me to sign up for a bunch of free care through different programs...that I didn't need.

Catastrophic + HSA is the next best thing for people a little better off economically.

These things would be illegal under Obamacare. Maximum coverage and cost for everybody!

What a jerk.

1:06 PM, January 24, 2010  

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