Health breaks health care

The UK’s Daily Telegraph points out that most of the health care budget is spent on the healthy.

The obese and smokers use less health care, cost taxpayers less, because, well, they die earlier from less complex disease.

While smokers and the overweight are often criticized for the financial impact of their unhealthy lifestyles, an obese person’s medical bills actually average 10 per cent less overall than those of a person of normal weight.

Smokers require even less treatment, say the researchers.

The reason is that the healthy tend to live longer and so, while they might not have to battle lung cancer, heart disease or diabetes in their fifties, they may need long-term care for illnesses of old age such as Alzheimer’s.

As a result, any “savings” made by them being healthy when young are more than offset by their being ill in old age.

The underlying mechanism is that there is a substitution of inexpensive, lethal diseases towards less lethal, and therefore more costly diseases.”

Among others, one stubborn medical worker cries foul, pointing out the study failed to account for the cost of buildings lost by fire caused by smokers.