The Buffett Medical Rule


You may have heard that Warren Buffett was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.   You may have heard that he has elected to get radiation treatment.   I don’t know if Warren has his own insurance or is using Medicare but someone is paying for it.  What is interesting is that the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends to stop checking the PSA after age 75.    Actually, they recommend not checking the PSA at all due to the controversy on not knowing if it really helps or not.  That being said, they DEFINITELY feel it should be stopped after 75 because most people die from something OTHER than the prostate cancer.  Guess how old Warren is?  Mr. “I want to help the little guy out” is 81.  He shouldn’t have ever been tested!.  Even though our medical system is hemorrhaging money it is good to know that the rich can still get around the basic recommendations.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “The Buffett Medical Rule

  1. Joel Olstein
    April 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    He’s 81 years old but as healthy as a sixty year old. Actuaries would say he has at least a ten year life expectancy. So it is totally reasonable to check his PSA. And for him to be treated.

  2. Neurodoc
    April 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    I like to pronounce this guy’s last name “Buffet” as in the French word describing a self-service meal or salad bar…

    I listened to “Buffet’s” interview with Charlie Rose, in which he lamented that he paid 15% capital gains taxes, while his company salaried employees paid over 30% income taxes… Charlie Rose seemed oh so very concerned about this. Were I doing the interview I would have asked Mr. Buffet why he didn’t address this inequity by writing a check to the IRS to make up for the difference….But then, I’m not Charlie Rose…

    Could it be that capital gains taxes are lower than salary income taxes because those who invest in the stock markets take a greater risk than those who do not invest capital and get paid a salary? Capital investors stand to lose money if their investment fails. Current IRS laws do not allow them to “deduct” bad investments beyond certain minimum amounts. It is precisely this great risk of losing capital that justifies the difference between captital gains taxes and “straight” income tax rates. A salaried employee takes no risks with his income (unless he chosses to invest it somehow).

    I would expect that a stock-marketeer like Buffet would understand this. Apparently he doesn’t, or maybe he does and has a political agenda that he prefers to pursue.

    I’m pretty sure that Mr. Buffet, however brilliant he may be as a capitalist investor, knows diddly-squat about medicine.

  3. GHD
    April 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    You can book it that Medicare is paying for it. He speaks with forked tongue.

  4. robert l erickson
    April 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    The advice is not to SCREEN after age 75 but what if there are significant symptoms and an enlarged nodular prostate, I guess a PSA could be indicated.

  5. mark obrien
    April 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    What are the numbers of “failure to diagnose” suits for not ordering a PSA and the average settlement? We need some support from the legal systems and judges to uphold these recommendations in court. Good luck with that.

  6. Demo Chic
    April 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    There is a great piece on this I’m sharing with patients.

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