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Aging Prisoners Strain The System

The New York Times article (Unkind Life For Young and Old, Aug 7) highlights yet another way the US wastes money. It costs $100,000 a year to maintain an aging prisoner, and prisons aren’t exactly geared for “aging in place.” They have unsafe stairwells, a ban on canes and of course no geriatricians on staff.

Geriatric prisoners rarely pose a threat to society so there’s little reason to keep them.

Jamie Fellner, author of a Human Rights Watch, was quoted in another article as saying, “Age should not be a get-out-of-jail-free card.” But why not?  In some countries, people over 70 do not go to prison, period. I doubt that we’d see many people over 70 suddenly going on crime sprees; the rare cases of white collar crime, like Madoff, could be handled with supervised probation or fines.

Comparison shopping for medical tests? Ridiculous!

The New York Times :Why We Should Know The Price Of Medical Tests.

My comment: 

Oh come on … the outrageous amount we spend on health care isn’t driven by saving a few bucks here and there on price-shopping.

Just for starters, Medicare pays $300 million a year for pre-op tests for outpatient cataract surgery, when research shows these tests have no impact on outcomes. Then there are billions spend on “end of life” care because doctors and hospitals disregard DNR and DNI, even when the correct forms are in the charts.

And the billions spent on “preventive care” that doesn’t prevent anything; at most you get risk reduction, usually a small amount.

And the inflated hospital charges ($147 for a Tylenol, $500 for a bag of salt water). I’d be willing to bet that 30-50% of these “medical tests” are not even necessary.

So now they want sick people to shop around to save a few bucks? And a hospital can say, legally, that prices are secret so you can’t even if you want to?

No wonder we’re not hearing much about the Mafia. They’re probably running the medical industrial complex.