With soaring medical costs, most governments that provide subsidized medical care for its citizens have started to think in terms of providing a “one size fits all” form of treatment. Usually, the current Medicare and Medicaid would fall under this category. While the required changes are still only on paper, the fact that politicians have already started to think of this as a ‘win-win’ policy is troubling indeed on several grounds, all of which are listed below.
Effectiveness: Opting for one standardized treatment for a specific condition may sound idealistic but when it comes to reality, the truth is realms apart from the idealized vision. The fact remains that as human beings, our bodies react differently to different medicines and even treatment methodologies. This is why doctors often subject their patients to several tests to see which one would be effective in treating their condition for doctors know all too well that heterogeneity is real enough and while two patients of a similar makeup, may suffer from the same condition, they need not respond similarly to the same drug/ course of treatment. And if the “one pill for one disease” healthcare alternative gets to become a part of our reality, then the chances of any patient being treated effectively goes all the way down.
Preference: When it comes to treatment patients have their own preference; they may opt for a herbal cure or would much rather go in for medication as opposed to surgery. But at the end of the day, their physician diagnoses their condition and they take an informed decision. The current policy change, that’s being debated, seeks to do away with this preference which is highly unfair to the patient and will only subject him to more stress as a result.
Cost: With a single universal healthcare in place which only allows for a single form of treatment for any specified health condition, the cost for healthcare should go down or so you would think. But in reality, and as various studies have already highlighted – as the patient gets to access only a specified treatment, chances of the patient being effectively treated drops down on account of heterogeneity. As a result, more patients are bound to get seriously sick which only translates to higher medical and healthcare costs for the government.
Health: Of all the negative side effects associated with this particular idea is the fact that patients will no longer have access to effective medical care is the most disturbing aspect of it. In other words, a patient would have to prove that a certain drug or medical treatment is not effective enough by becoming sicker in the process and putting his life at risk. This seems ironic that a bill that seeks to treat patients effectively is endangering their very lives in the process.
These are some of the negative side effects of a ‘one size fits all’ approach to standardized healthcare.