Money Doesn’t Even Work


A study in the Journal of Health Affairs looked at the effectiveness of financial incentives to encourage weight loss among 197 obese employees of the University of Pennsylvania health system.  The results?  It failed.  Obese workers, after a year, had lost less than 1.5 pounds on average, statistically no different than the minute average gain of a tenth of a pound for workers who weren’t offered a financial incentive to lose weight.  All they had to do was lose 5% of their weight in a year and they would get $550. The NPR article tried to look at what went wrong and they were basically baffled.  What’s the answer?  It’s obvious isn’t it? They just needed to penalize their doctors for failing to meet quality metric standards.  No, it wouldn’t have made them lose any more weight but it would have saved the system money and drive more doctors into retirement. And isn’t that what Obamacare, the hospitals and the insurers are really trying to accomplish?  


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] 

  2 comments for “Money Doesn’t Even Work

  1. DrG
    January 13, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Follow the Godfathers advice and be a man…stop playing the insurance game! Cash only. Insurance companies are the equivalent of a credit card company that tells you what you can charge. Not even McDonald’s will play this game.

  2. DrPhil
    January 13, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Or they could stop junk food advertising?
    (sorry that is probably un-American and against one of the amendments of the constitution)

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