Being Mortal Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End

Category: Social Sciences
Author: Atul Gawande
This Month Hacker News 1


by noobhacker   2018-01-18
The high health care cost is due to a lot of unnecessary procedures being performed. This can happen in two ways.

First, there are a lot of tests and procedures ordered by doctors that only have some, but very small, benefits for the patients [0]. Doctors are incentivized to do this because each procedure has a set price (negotiated with insurance companies and Medicare / Medicaid) and the only way to get more revenue is to perform more procedures.

Second, patients themselves order a lot of procedures out of fear. Arguably, they can be better off without these procedures. A prime example is end-of-life care, where patients and families often want to "do everything possible" even if those intrusive medical procedures bring nothing but a few weeks of miserable living [1]. Those end-of-life procedures are extremely expensive while having questionable benefits in terms of bringing a "happy" life rather than just a longer life [2].