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Jim's Full Body Scanner – "The Jimmer" – and rational health care

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Jim Ragsdale of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote a terrific column this week, “Rational health care, not rationed.” It begins:

“I invented a device called Jim’s Full Body Scanner. It takes up a city block, which means it cost kabillions to build and operate. But for $50,000 per scan, the Jimmer, as I call it, can give you a cell-by-cell breakdown of your bod. It can show dozens of microscopic changes, giving you a chance to take pre-emptive medical action.

Most of those scanned go right to a conveniently located miniJim Clinic for further tests, a biopsy or two, some minor surgeries or maybe even a pre-emptive transplant. I admit that it’s controversial. We don’t really know if some of the fixes are needed. The eggheads want long-term studies and “evidence” before deciding whether insurers should pay.

“Rationing!” I say. “They’ve put a bureaucrat between you and the Jimmer!”

OK, I didn’t actually invent any such device. I am an aging civilian scribe whose anatomical knowledge is well below average. I imagined the “Jimmer” because it helps me understand the battle over scientific evidence and its relation to the gaping holes into which our health-care dollars disappear.”

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