Ready for the next con game? How about having to pay people to take their medicine? Yes, you read right. Numerous professionals are suggesting that patients who forget and/or refuse to take their prescriptions be paid a monthly sum to do so. The New York Times reports:
One-third to one-half of all patients do not take medication as prescribed, and up to one-quarter never fill prescriptions at all, experts say. Such lapses fuel more than $100 billion dollars in health costs annually because those patients often get sicker.
Now, a controversial, and seemingly counterintuitive, effort to tackle the problem is gaining ground: paying people money to take medicine or to comply with prescribed treatment. The idea, which is being embraced by doctors, pharmacy companies, insurers and researchers, is that paying modest financial incentives up front can save much larger costs of hospitalization.
"It's better to spend money on medication adherence for patients, rather than having them boomerang in and out of the hospital," said Valerie Fleishman, executive director of the New England Healthcare Institute, a research organization, who said that about one-tenth of hospital admissions and one-quarter of nursing home admissions result from incorrect adherence to medication. "Financial incentives are a critical piece of the solution."
And who do you think ultimately gets to foot the bill for yet another social experiment? Responsible people, of course. Those who pay their bills and take their meds.
But it's not enough for you to pay for your own medical needs; there are others out there who are effectively telling us, "Pay me a little now to take my prescriptions, or you'll have to pay Big Medicine a lot more when I have to get treatment." There are already a few scams in place:
In a Philadelphia program people prescribed warfarin, an anti-blood-clot medication, can win $10 or $100 each day they take the drug ? a kind of lottery using a computerized pillbox to record if they took the medicine and whether they won that day.
Other patients are receiving other incentives like $10 a month.
Why in the world do any of us want to be responsible anymore when it pays to be irresponsible? America - home of Extortion, Inc.