The Antidote

Counterspin for Health Care and Health News

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thank you, CBO

California HealthLine today reports on a new Congressional Budget Office Report that finds that inefficient delivery of health care, and delivery of interventions of dubious value, will swamp the effect of the aging of the population in increasing health care costs over the foreseeable future.
"The nature of the long-term fiscal problem has been misdiagnosed," Orszag said, adding that the aging population "is not by any means the main factor" behind the projected rise in cost growth. He noted that many new medical treatments and tests are "of dubious value." He said that in their efforts to stem the growth of health care costs, Congress and federal policymakers need to promote cost effectiveness and "evidence-based" medicine (Reuters, 11/13).
Obviously Congress needs to take the lead in addressing this struggle. Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus pledged to address the problem aggressively; I hope he does, and I hope Budget Chief Orszag doesn't lose his job saying what needed to be said.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NY Times skewers "natural" claims of beauty products

Natural does not equal healthier, nor does it even equal, well, natural. An article in today's Times skewers the marketing ploys of a variety of beauty products available at stores like Whole Foods, and reiterates that there's no evidence that individual ingredients benefit health or beauty, or that claims of their natural or organic provenance are even necessarily true. Manufacturers profit handsomely on consumers' emotional beliefs that natural is somehow better.
"We’re seeing an increased consciousness that what you put on your body is as important as what goes in your body,” said Jeremiah McElwee, the senior coordinator in charge of personal care at Whole Foods, which is the company’s fastest-growing department. “The biggest impetus for buying natural or organic body care is the perceived health benefit.”
Emphasis on "perceived."

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