Ten Miles Square

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July 06, 2012 8:30 AM Some Days I Despair

By Aaron Carroll

I have a hard time with the “best in the world” triumphalism that often surrounds “debates” on health care reform. I’ve done my best to have a reasoned discussion about quality in the health care system. There are times, though, when I see what we’re up against, and I despair:

GOP congressional candidate Chris Collins knows health care is expensive these days, but he argues it’s for good reason: People are no longer dying from deadly forms of cancer.
“People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things,” he told The Batavian in an interview that was flagged Tuesday by City & State NY. Collins was discussing his desire to repeal Obamacare.
“The fact of the matter is, our healthcare today is so much better, we’re living so much longer, because of innovations in drug development, surgical procedures, stents, implantable cardiac defibrillators, neural stimulators — they didn’t exist 10 years ago,” he continued. “The increase in cost is not because doctors are making a lot more money. It’s what you can get for healthcare, extending your life and curing diseases.”

I was going to try and unpack this, pointing out that it’s actually prices that are often driving spending [increases] and such, but I’m too tired. If your starting point as a candidate is that people aren’t dying from diseases in the US, then you’ve left field of play.

P.S. I don’t even care if his point was that so many fewer people are dying than before. That’s not true either:

[Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]

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Aaron Carroll ,MD, is an associate professor of Pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine.