With the possible exception of data fabrication by either HERO or the Koop Award Committee, there is no topic we’ve covered more often than the taxpayer-financed hilarity published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose premise is that laughter is the best medicine.
- The “arresting fact” that 7 out of 10 deaths are caused by chronic disease. That’s called civilization, and 2/3 of the world’s countries would envy us for this statistic.
- Their new mantra that 86% of spending is caused by chronic disease, a big bump up from 75% a few years ago, a figure that apparently wasn’t generating quite enough ridicule for their liking. (Of course the flip side is also true — that bump in chronic disease also means acute disease and birth events are being wiped out.) Yet anyone can see from this readily available government data that admissions coded to chronic diseases (or events directly stemming from chronic diseases) are the exception rather than the rule. The figure that matters is that in the working population perhaps 2% of cost — meaning about 6% of admissions — is due to wellness-sensitive medical events. So in the unlikely event that you can prevent 10% of that, you’ve saved 0.2% of your healthcare spending, before counting costs. If you are spending $500/person/month, that 0.2% would be $1–which curiously squares almost exactly with HERO’s estimate, before they accidentally admitted wellness loses much more money than they had originally thought.
Enter Mercer. One would think that for what they charge they could afford either to (1) hire a smart person to look at their stuff before they publish it, or else (2) connect to the internet. Instead they purchased a photocopier.