Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tonsillectomies, Part One

On July 22, President Obama talked about health care and said:

Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. So if they're looking and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, "You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out."

Now, that may be the right thing to do, but I'd rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid's tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change -- maybe they have allergies. Maybe they have something else that would make a difference.

I don’t have children and none of my friends have young children so I wasn’t sure where Obama had come up with the idea that doctors were removing children’s tonsils when all the kids had were allergies. I mean, you can test for allergies and stuff.

Then I stumbled across this gem from the Huffington Post and I realized what Obama is reading to bring himself up to speed in the medical field. This article is 1200 words of meaningless buzzwords and platitudes (literally meaningless) and about 400 words of case study. There are no links to support the author’s claim that “chronic disease ... affects 133 million Americans [that’s almost half the people in the country] and accounts for 78 percent of healthcare costs.” Nor are there any links to back up his claim that “we are witnessing a decline in life expectancy for the first time in history.” The author does not cite any controlled studies of his medical approach nor does he even bother to offer any statistics of his own on how many patients he’s treated, what his success rate is, or what his long-term follow-up numbers look like.

He does offer two case studies. One is a twelve-year-old boy with a list of problems as long as his arms who was cured by eliminating “junk food diet, food sensitivities [aka, allergies], overgrowth of yeast, and lead” and adding in some nutrients. The other case study is a 46-year-old woman who, again, has a list of problems as long as her arms. Her problem turned out to be “an autoimmune response to gluten” [aka, allergies].

So there you go. Now we know why Obama is convinced sick kids just have allergies: it’s because Huffington Post doctors know allergies cause everything. Never mind the money we’ll save on tonsillectomies. Think of the money we’ll save on chemotherapy, pacemakers, and appendectomies.

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