First off, it’s July Fourth, so happy interdependent day!
Oh wait, I meant Happy Independence Day. Sorry about that.
So where was I? Oh, OK um, “lifestyle drugs”. Wikipedia defines them as “.. a medication designed to improve the patient’s quality of life by addressing relatively minor and non-life threatening conditions..” If you plug “lifestyle drug” into Google, the very first result is this blog, talking about Britain’s National Health Service (emphasis mine):
This is a pharmaceutical which is taken not to relieve or cure a medical condition, but to improve the quality of life of the person taking it. But there is dispute about what constitutes a medical condition that needs treatment and what is just cosmetic, discretionary or even unnecessary. The phrase is commonly used disparagingly by journalists, especially in Britain, where it is feared the cost of fashionable treatments may cause financial problems to the cash-strapped National Health Service. The matter has come up recently concerning Viagra, a new drug to treat male impotence that has created huge public interest both in the USA and Britain (though sales in the US are now reportedly already only a third of the level reached soon after its launch earlier this year).
So should our impending HillaryCare (Canadian style health care, single-payer health care, socialized medicine, universal health care…) cover “lifestyle drugs”? I suppose that depends on your special interest lobbying group. Perhaps the Feminists will compromise, as long as they get their unfettered right to one specific medical procedure, perhaps Viagra will be covered up to a certain number of pills a week. Of course, the chemotherapy people will call for wigs to be covered and we can’t forget the emergency response team of grief counselors that we’ll need to keep on hand so we can fly them in to any disaster.
If this is all starting to look like our bloated federal budget, well that’s the point. That’s why I’ve highlighted the “cash-strapped” part in the quote above. Also, if you drill down into the comments over at that post I’ve referred to over at Lean Left, you’ll see that even the proponents of the universal rationed health care whine about the inevitable underfunding of the program:
The most telling point is that every single example cited, and virtually all of the issues commonly raised as objections to single-payer plans, is caused by one simple thing: lack of funds.
It’s not underfunding so much as every special interest group getting to throw their slice of pork on top of the steaming, festering pile. And then of course comes the decree to force everyone else to pay for it. That’s not even mentioning the fact that any government health care scheme would tend to reduce or eliminate any profit based desire to increase efficiency. But I suppose KTK is right in the fact that if we could magically fund government health care to unlimited levels, we would be able to offer fantastic care at the all-you-can-eat free health care buffet. Anything less than unlimited funding and you will get lines, rationing, and government mandated therapy restrictions.
So the other day I was talking about acid-reflux medication. Are they “medically necessary” or are they “lifestyle drugs”? Well, I suppose the reason why the drugs are so popular is not only the relief they provide, but the ability for the consumer to eat foods that they used to enjoy. I know my daily acid reducer keeps me in chili peppers, caffeine and chocolate, but I’d do just fine on a bland diet of steamed veggies, boiled barley, and poached chicken breast meat, sans any spices of course. It’s just that I’d hate to subsist on that diet. I’d hate far further having some bean counter somewhere deciding whether or not my chosen therapy is covered under some sort of cost control plan for our future socialized medicine system. That decision should be between myself and my doctor.
The solution, of course, is Health Savings Account (HSA) with a medical High Deductible Health Insurance plan. Under this system you, and not some faceless bean counter gets to decide whether or not extra birth control pills (so one could time one’s period) are covered or not. You get to decide if that expensive acid reflux pill is really worth the cost. You, and not some bureaucrat gets to decide how much extra of a critical lifesaving medicine you get to buy and store in advance of some possible emergency.
So what are these Health Savings Accounts? Well, first off I’d like to state that they are not the use-it-or-lose-it Medical Savings Accounts that may have be offered by your employer. Nope, they’re an entirely different critter. Beyond that, well I’m going to be going into that in another blog post.
This blog post was brought to you today by the
lifestyle drugs Generally Recognized as Safe food additives: caffeine, taurine, and Yellow Dye Number 5.