The High Cost of Health Care

The current issue of AARP: The Magazine has an excellent article titled Why Does Health Care Cost So Much by Shannon Brownlee, the author of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. I'd love to get my hands on a copy of this to review here. I couldn't tell from the available editorial or customer reviews if maternity care is covered in the book, and there isn't a 'look inside the book' option.

In any case, the problem, as Brownlee explains so well in the article is over-treatment, with 50% of the interventions that not supported by evidence. In obstetrics, that number is higher. Citizens for Midwifery and Childbirth Connection reveal that:

Fully 85% of U.S. women enter labor at "low-risk" for problems (Healthy People 2010), but virtually 100% of U.S. women have at least one intervention. (Listening to Mothers Survey. Childbirth Connection 2002). Every intervention has the potential of doing harm as well as good. If a woman has an intervention she doesn't need, then she runs the risks with no counterbalancing benefit.

Why women aren't furious about this I can't imagine! In fact, what blows me away is that when movies like The Business of Being Born or books like Obstetric Myths versus Research Realities and Born in the U.S.A expose the problems within the system that make it dangerous, expensive and emotionally damaging, women don't get upset that the system is broken. Instead they get mad that anyone dare suggest the system even has issues, damned be the evidence! I keep finding little puzzle pieces as to why this may be so, but honestly, I feel the more I learn the less I know some days.


Anonymous said...

I can send you a copy o fhtew AAPR magazine piece if you let me know your postal address. You might be interested in my book, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.

All best,

Shannon Brownlee

Wildner said...

Hi Shannon,
I have a copy of the AARP article. It was what exposed me to your work, which I think is wonderful!