Bad “anxiety,” good “anxiety”

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Just asking: If they’re going to count the “scary” “anxiety” of false positives when weighing the benefits and harms of medical tests, shouldn’t they also count the massive relief from anxiety that comes with non-false negatives–e.g. not having to worry that you have an illness? Or would that not give prestigious medical boards enough justification for denying people expensive services they want? …

P.S.: Why do today’s do-gooding liberal doctors have such a zeal for cost-cutting (something do-gooding liberals don’t seem to have in any other sphere of domestic government activity)? I suspect it’s because they believe in a Fixed Pie theory of medical expenses–the assumption that if less is spent on the “worried well,” more can be spent on the poor and uninsured, or on public health programs that would (in theory) have a larger life-saving impact. They’re redistributing. As NBC’s Nancy Snyderman assured her viewers after the most recent attempt to curtail testing and screening:

Today’s recommendations are not a one-size-fits-all, but a reminder that if we avoid certain tests that may be unnecessarily and pose some risks, there’s going to be more in the bank for the people who really need health care, and frankly, we’re all going to be a lot healthier for it. Brian:

WILLIAMS: An idea we might have to get ahold of in this country. Nancy, thank you [E.A.]

There are probably all sorts of reasons why the Fixed Pie theory is a fallacy. Most obviously, if taxpayers are happy with the services their government insurance provides them–because, say, their doctors aren’t pressured to withhold potentially life-saving tests because the results might cause “anxiety”–they’re more likely to be willing to pay taxes to buy more of those services for everyone. ….

P.S.: If top-ranking medical bureaucrats were pursuing a different agenda, wouldn’t they be commissioning equally valid studies showing that reassuring the “worried well” that they’re well–i.e. eliminating anxiety through testing–produces all sorts of valuable side benefits? …

Mickey Kaus