A Stupid Question

Slow news day for CBS, I guess. They have a flaming headline about the Obama administration’s plan to have Medicare cover the cost of testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

‘U.S. may pay for sex disease tests for elderly: Should taxpayers pony up?’

(CBS) If granny gets gonorrhea or gramps gets sick with syphilis, who should foot the bill to test them?

Taxpayers should pay. At least that’s what federal health authorities seem to think.

Read the rest of the story here.
It’s nearly content-free.

I guess this question needs to be answered, so here’s my expert opinion. Duh.

You want someone who suspects they have an infectuous disease not to get tested? That’s going to save money? Like when they show up in the ER with a raging pelvic inflammation or neurosyphillis? After exposing gods know how many other people?

I’m just surprised that these tests weren’t always covered. Most STD’s are easy to diagnose and treat. Counseling for prevention is part of the standard of care.

Well, I guess it’s a slow day at CBS. Or else they are trolling the news for something scandalous to attach to health care reform. Is Obama leading the nation’s elders into temptation? Will everyone just behave if they fear they’ll go blind and insane before the Alzheimers and macular degeration (covered by Medicare) gets them? Should we stop testing and treating younger people so they will be moral too?

Reuters covers the same story, minus the smirks, here.


9 thoughts on “A Stupid Question

  1. Testing for AIDS was politicized in this country by gay males.Nobody would’ve questioned testing for TB or something similar,but the gay lobby roadblocked attempts at widespread screening.Self-defeating and dangerous to others,if you ask me.
    I’m sure you’ll tell me why I am wrong about this.

  2. Public health officials and some organizers in the gay community recognized the threat several years before an HIV test had been developed. The Reagan administration failed to act at the beginning of the epidemic, though the Surgeon General, C.Everett Koop, eventually earned respect as a leader in education and prevention.
    I am a certified HIV counselor since the early 90’s. Policy around testing has evolved with the changes in treatment. It has been a collaboration from the start.
    The latest approach is ‘opt-out’ testing where you have to specifically opt out of having HIV testing included in routine care.
    There’s some good news– the incidence of new HIV cases has fallen with effective meds and outreach.
    It’s not historically accurate to say that the Reagan administration had an effective public health plan that was stalled by the all-powerful gay lobby. They had no plan at all. Patients, families, doctors and advocates deserve credit for pushing for research and prevention.
    That’s why we have a Ryan White bill– because it took a family to bring the crisis to the public when the leaders weren’t leading.

    1. Nancy-when did I praise the Reagan administration’s know-nothingpolicy?
      They also dropped the ball.
      My point was that a DISEASE doesn’t pay attention to political considerations-it just makes people sick.
      BTW- my cousin,who I grew up with and consider a pretty good guy,has had HIV for years,but has never developed AIDS.He’s gay-big deal.We always had fun as kids doing exactly what our parents didn’t want us to,like playing around the railroad tracks.
      His niece,who is a hardcore fundamentalist Christian puts aside her feelings about homosexuality and treats him as a stepdad.Her heterosexual father (also my cousin),thankfully deceased,was a complete scumbag.
      She’s in her mid to late 40’s,no kid, and very sincere in her beliefs.
      Now you want “diversity”?She’s half Mohawk,half Jewish,married to a Puerto Rican minister.
      They have three children who seem to be very happy with their upbringing.
      I can’t think of anyone in our family who thought ill of my cousin because he was gay.
      The crazy thing was that he was a very handsome,tall,athletic guy who could really handle himself in a street fight and girls always wanted to date him.It only occured to me years later that he was never interested.

  3. I’m just saying that it wasn’t ‘the gays’ who failed to respond to the epidemic at the beginning.
    I’ve seen policy evolve with the progress of research and treatment. Brown University and Miriam Hospital are world research centers.
    It all comes down to people, as you mention how your family supports your cousin– and I wish him continued health.
    There was never the option of forced testing. Early in the epidemic patients reasonably feared that a positive HIV test could cost them their insurance, their job and their privacy. And there was no treatment. Medical workers in the gay community were on the front lines of bringing the test to the people most at risk, and fighting the discrimination that drove people away from testing and treatment.
    Now we have to talk sense to politicians who think it saves money to cut people off HIV meds. In fact, with active public health testing and treatment the rate of new infections goes down– that’s one of the few pieces of good news to come along in a very bleak story.

  4. And this whole thread started because apparently there are some dimwits who think it’s a waste of money to test old people for diseases that can be cured with a bottle of penicillin. Jeeze.

    1. Yes,it did,and it always needs to be kept in mind that microorganisms don’t vote,they just replicaate and spread.
      While we’re on the subject of AIDS/HIV just remember the favorite leftist of many “progressives”,one Fidel Castro, put HIV carriers in concentration camps.

      1. Quarantine, actually. Weren’t you suggesting that yourself when you said in your first comment we would have treated it like TB if it weren’t for gay males? What should we have done in the years when there was a test but no meds?
        I’m glad we have hard-earned respect for patients rights. I don’t think there’s a simple political point to be made here. Right now I worry that people will underestimate the risk of this disease and fail to protect themselves. Eventually there will be a vaccine, until then education and prevention is the only answer. That requires cooperation, compulsion only drives people away from care.

  5. My grandfather had TB when he was a young man and had to spend some time in a sanitarium-I guess it worked because that was in his 30’s and he died at 93.
    Now,I wasn’t suggesting Castro style camps,but I think people should have known if they were carriers.Only a complete piece of garbage would go out and have unprotected sex with someone if they KNEW they had the bug.
    As it turned out,AIDS was harder to transmit than originally thought,so there would never have been a need for confining people.
    TB as you know IS casually tramsmitted-it was a real danger on my job.I can’t tell you how many RESTAURANT WORKERS I arrested in Chicago who had their Kanamycin in their “residences”( you didn’t want to see those places)-people should think about that next time they strap on the feedbag at a joint that hires illegal aliens.
    As a health professional I know you’re well aware of the new diseases popping up in the US which were never endemic here,as well as previously endemic diseases which were basically eradicated here and have re-appeared.
    I was caught in the polio epidemic of 1953 and spent a long time recovering.
    I don’t want to go back to those days to satisfy the feelings of the “no human is illegal”advocates.

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