Notes & Links: October 15, 2013

Delaying aging to bend the cost-curve: balancing individual life with societal costs

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn writing on her blog HealthPopuli speaks to a complex issue facing us in healthcare what happens when we delay aging or age more slowly. She takes a deep dive into an article in Health Affairs Substantial Health and Economic Returns from Delayed Aging May Warrant a New Focus for Medical Research

Sarasohn-Kahn provided a chart from a 1997 Rand Corporation Future Elderly Model. Like all good charts it says it all. 

If delayed aging is indeed a real possibility in humans, the economic question for the end-game (literally) is: can society’s economy afford to extend lives? Living longer could lead to people taking on a huge disease burden at the end of life, suffering multiple lethal issues for the health system to deal with both clinically and economically for Medicare. In addition, people who live longer lives would also add to the Social Security program demand for income support.

This is another look at cost and health one that we need to consider and not kick down the road. The key word here is bending the cost curve and that must be done.What is the balance between bending a curve and breaking a patient?

Tips For Medicare’s Tricky Open Enrollment Season

Caroline Mayer a contributor to Forbes has some handy tricks for medicare open enrollment season. This is rich resource of information and references those of us at a certain age can use. This is especially true today with ACA and the current shutdown. The article addresses:

  • Website issue (thank you Congress)
  • Medicare Enrollment Scams
  • Changes in Medicare Plans in 2014
  • Medicare Enrollment “Don’ts”
  • Medicare Open Enrollment “Do’s”

I would add to this a non-profit organization that helped my wife a couple of years back and who were so helpful and supportive. Medicare Rights Center.

This is a good time to review, consider, review, and act. Being an ePatient means never having to worry about your insurance because got e’d about before signing on the dotted line.

Delaying Vaccinations is Stupid

Aaron Carroll on The Incidental Economist jumps on the delay childhood vaccinations cohort with a strongly worded well referenced post. The data he presents is from Delaying Vaccination Is Not a Safer Choice from JAMA Pediatrics and is behind a pay wall. 

Parents delay vaccines because they worry about too much at one time and the poor little ones bodies can’t handle them. Here is just one section from Carroll’s book Don’t Cross Your Eyes… They’ll Get Stuck that way and Other Health Myths Debunked

In a manuscript specifically designed to answer this question in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Paul Offit and colleagues estimated that infants likely have the capacity to respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time.  No vaccine could “use up” the immune system.  In fact, estimates showed that if a child received 11 vaccines at one time, that might occupy about 0.1% of the immune system.  You’d never notice that.

Carroll’s post is clear, concise and should be a reference URL for any of us who want to support delayed vaccinations with fact, science, and evidence. Hop over and take a look.

Takeaways From Standford Medicine X Conference

Casey Quinlan posting on HealthWorks Collective gives us an up close and personal look at this years Stanford Medicine X. She was tagged as an ePatient Scholar. The URL contains her review and three videos. 

Here is her closing thought

What did I learn at MedX? I learned that there’s hope. Hope for healthcare, hope for humanity, and hope for every single person who winds up a patient (and hey, we’re all patients, right?). The key is that medicine is a team sport. It requires the full participation of everyone in every health-related 

Great post with valuable links and insightful videos.

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