Last month the New York Times posted its recommendations for how to cope with the costs of Medicare in the future.
In their proposals for Medicare sustainability, the Times failed to include a proven strategy for lowering health care costs: Finding innovative treatments to cure or manage costly diseases. In doing so, the Times also misdiagnoses the remedy for reducing Medicare costs.
As a result of the U.S. investment in eradicating polio, America saved an estimated $180 billion in health care costs. A $10 billion investment in therapies to manage HIV/AIDS is estimated to have saved $1.4 trillion in health care costs.
In 2011, Alzheimer's cost the U.S. $183 billion, 70 percent of which is borne by Medicare and Medicaid. This cost will only go up as Baby Boomers turn 65. A national strategy to incentivize the innovative therapies to cure or manage Alzheimer's -- not cut reimbursements for innovative drugs -- is the single most important strategy to reduce national health care costs.
Cutting Medicare costs by reducing reimbursements to providers of services and therapies, as the Times urges, reduces those incentives and puts off the day when Alzheimer's victims have a therapy to cure or manage their disease.
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