Nice job by Jeremy Cox in the Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville) highlighting overlapping issues of disease-mongering, medicalization and health care costs.
If Americans would stop thinking of certain problems in a medical context, experts argue, it might chip away at the more than $2 trillion the nation spends annually on health care. Furthermore, people would be healthier because they would avoid some of the problems caused by too much health care, such as hospital-acquired infections and bad drug interactions.
A provocative new study for the first time puts a dollar figure to all the treatments, pills and procedures Americans seek to cure their formerly non-medical ills: $77.1 billion, in 2005 dollars.
That total represents less than 4 percent of the annual medical spending tab, but it’s more than the country spends on heart disease, cancer and public-health campaigns, Peter Conrad, a sociologist at Brandeis University and the lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, said in an e-mail.
Kudos to Cox and his paper for making time and space for this. Newspapers could have a daily column on this topic. And I’d bet it’d be good for circulation!