W’s Stent

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This is a really great opinion piece in the Washington Post from a physician, Vinay Prasad MD.  He talks about how George W. Bush recently received a  stent in his heart without any history of having symptoms.  If W. was a regular citizen, he would not even have been given a cardiac test to check for blockages.   Evidence does not support any benefit in testing asymptomatic people! The author sums it up by saying:

Although this may seem like an issue important only to the former president, consider the following: Although the price of excessive screening of so-called VIPs is usually paid for privately, follow-up tests, only “necessary” because of the initial unnecessary screening test, are usually paid for by Medicare, further stressing our health-care system. The media coverage of interventions like Mr. Bush’s also leads patients to pressure their own doctors for unwarranted and excessive care.

I have always believed that rationing, done in an appropriate and evidence-based manner, is warranted.  We physicians are still stewards of the healthcare system and when you run out of money doing stupid tests and procedures then no one gets healthcare.  That being said, politicians have never followed the same rules of us common folk.  Why else would they have excluded themselves from Obamacare?

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