The market has done a characteristically fantastic job of “trimming the fat” at nursing homes–i.e., squeezing out more profit by providing less care. One may wonder, how do the residents of such homes get taken care of when staff are fired and other corners are cut? The WSJ reports on one solution: drug them.
Nearly 30% of the total nursing-home population is receiving antipsychotic drugs. . . . In a practice known as “off label” use of prescription drugs, patients can get these powerful medicines whether they are psychotic or not.
Federal and some state regulators are pushing back, questioning the use of antipsychotic drugs and citing nursing homes for using them in ways that violate federal rules. New York has increased its focus on antipsychotics in nursing homes, training inspectors to spot signs of medication abuse.
Meanwhile, some employees are finding their health increasingly managed by their employers. “Employers Tell Workers To Get Healthy or Pay Up” is the headline, and here are some of the pressures:
Employees at some companies who are overweight, smoke, or have high cholesterol, for instance, and who don’t participate in supplementary wellness programs, will pay more for health insurance. In extreme cases, employees’ insurance deductibles could rise by $2,000.
What I wonder is: will the same people who are so distressed by the possibility of government-mandated purchase of health insurance also rise up against the corporate imposition of health standards? Or is paternalism perfectly fine when it’s a product of the market?