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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: Healthcare

Re: “Vermont Has More Addicts Than It Can Treat, So Why Are Inpatient Facilities Losing Revenue?

I suspect most people who recently have had serious medical care agree that cost-driven medical decisions are just that - cost-driven first, treatment-based second. Medicine isn't special in that sense.
It's true for all sorts of businesses; families as well. Each of us makes the tough decision on 'must have' and 'like to have' when spending within a budget.
Mark Davis's report was an excellent example of the political positions the state takes on one side, providers on the other, both sides saying they represent ‘must have.’
I'd love to see some numbers.
How much does the state pay out to addiction-recovery providers? Where is that money coming from? What portion of the budget is it and what portion of the state-administered medical care budget is it?
Eventually, it all comes from you and me, the taxpayers. Are elected officials working toward the outcomes we want?
There’s a lot to consider but let’s limit it to three things. 1. Strictly by numbers, is it more cost effective to provide the limited treatment now available or are would lengthier, more effective treatment that benefits not only an addict, but the circle of the community in which he or she interacts, be more cost effective?
2. What kind of society or culture do we as Vermonters or Americans want to live in? Do we want to live in a 'heroin use is on the rise' world with lots of crime news to keep the media churning or do we want to spend some of our finite resources on limiting a pretty useless, destructive and deadly way to get high?
3. Are we willing to spend more than the state is spending now simply to help people on heroin? They're probably poor to begin with, probably otherwise involved in crime, and they're definitely non-productive. Is the Titanic a good model where hubris reigned and the lifeboats will only hold a select few or are we smart enough to figure out a way to avoid and effectively deal with disaster.
Don't get cynical about this. It's possible, without raising taxes, and without similarly underfunding or eliminating other deserving and essential programs, to make Vermont's heroin-treatment system work, at least better than it does in the picture painted in Mark Davis's story.

Posted by Gene Cassidy on 05/18/2014 at 7:18 PM

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