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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Cure for Cancer

By Keith Schmitz

Here's a novel approach to curing cancer. As we have been told for years cancer when detected early has a good chance of being cured. But of course in "the greatest health care system in the world" we all know there are people who just can't go to the doctor or put off seeing a doctor when somthing suspicious crops up because they don't have insurance, the means to pay for it, or more and more they are on high deductible HSA's.

Now the American Cancer Society is going to do something about it. The front page of today's New York Times details the $15 million ad campaign the Society is going to launch will be talking about the consequences of inadequate health care. This is all of their advertising dollars.

Here's why according to the article:
The campaign was born of the group’s frustration that cancer rates are not dropping as rapidly as hoped, and of recent research linking a lack of insurance to delays in detecting malignancies.
Now doesn't that make a lot of sense?

The campaign will not support any one approach to steer clear of tax rules for charities, but it simply implants the idea that this system has to be fixed.

To give some idea what $15 million will buy, Geico has spent $14 million on their "caveman" ads, and these guys are getting their own show this season on ABC.

There are a lot of good stats in the article, including this one:
Other surveys have found that one of every four families afflicted by cancer, which is projected to kill 560,000 Americans this year, is effectively impoverished by the fight, including one of every five with insurance.
Why the campaign? The American Cancer Society did a diagnosis:
Mr. Seffrin (American Cancer Society CEO) initiated the advertising campaign after being pushed by the society’s board to make faster progress toward its goals of reducing cancer death rates by 50 percent and incidence rates by 25 percent from 1990 to 2015. If trends continue, the actual reductions are projected to fall well short, perhaps by as much as half.

While the decline in death rates is accelerating, studies have shown that if cancer was diagnosed more in its early stages, the rates would fall faster. And new research is confirming that insurance status often determines whether a person’s cancer is diagnosed early or late.

One study published this year found that uninsured breast cancer patients were more than twice as likely to have their cancer diagnosed in late stages as those with private insurance. Other studies have found similar results with cancers of the larynx and mouth.
The stars are aligning to dump what we are doing now in health care. All of the Democratic candidates are proposing health care reform, our state is knocking on the door with consideration of Healthy Wisconsin, business executives are taking note to the drag on our competitiveness and people in general are just plain fed up with our for-profit system. The levee is breaking.

If for what ever reason you love the current way of providing health care in the US, you'd better kiss it good bye.

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