On Wed, I am having the screening procedure that Katie Couric so vividly demonstrated some years ago. Basically the story is that if you have this procedure at age 50, any colon cancer that might be detected will be at a sufficiently early stage for it to be quite curable. So because I have good health insurance, I can be sure I will not die of colon cancer.

Those without insurance are not so fortunate. Such patients can only get the screening if they pay out of pocket ($2000-$3000) or, if they are patients at places like the LA County hospital, if they are symptomatic, which means the cancer might not be caught early. For the median family, $2000 is a lot of money; for those who occupy the netherworld of having too much money to get medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance, it is even more so.

I hope the new health care system rectifies this. Under the old system, this difference in service delivery was unjust.

[Updates: First, I misspelled “colon,” which shows that I should never write things while being reflective at midnight. Second, it is worth saying something about cost benefit analysis and screening–according to this source, the cost per life year is about $45,000, which seems like a good deal to me].

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About Richard K. Green 103 Articles

Affiliation: University of Southern California

Richard K. Green, Ph.D., is the Director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate. He holds the Lusk Chair in Real Estate and is Professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

Prior to joining the USC faculty, Dr. Green spent four years as the Oliver T. Carr, Jr., Chair of Real Estate Finance at The George Washington University School of Business. He was Director of the Center for Washington Area Studies and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Studies at that institution. Dr. Green also taught real estate finance and economics courses for 12 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was Wangard Faculty Scholar and Chair of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. He also has been principal economist and director of financial strategy and policy analysis at Freddie Mac.

His research addresses housing markets, housing policy, tax policy, transportation, mortgage finance and urban growth. He is a member of two academic journal editorial boards, and a reviewer for several others.

His work is published in a number of journals including the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Land Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Real Estate Economics, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Housing Economics, and Urban Studies.

His book with Stephen Malpezzi, A Primer on U.S. Housing Markets and Housing Policy, is used at universities throughout the country. His work has been cited or he has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and the Economist, as well as other outlets.

Dr. Green earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his A.B. in economics from Harvard University.

Visit: Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

2 Comments on Justice

  1. I disagree – why should the average 50 year old go get a $3,000 screening funded by my taxes? We'll assume you're 50 based on your comments, and have done close to no research given your spelling of "colon" on colorectal cancer. It's horrible and kills over 1/2 a million people each year – compared with 42million killed or injured in vehicle collisions. It mostly presents in your 60s and 70s, virtually not at all pre-50s, and affects about 7% of the population. It afflicts more women than man, and only accounts for approximately 10% of cancer deaths. Stages I, II, & III are generally curable, Stage IV, less so but not hopeless.

    You'd propose that all healthy 50-year old men have instruments shoved up there rectum just to see, if by chance, there might be something up there that isn't supposed to be up there. I know the "society of doctors who earn their income from doing these tests" recommends starting at age 50 because it is really curable at early stages, but as an argument for socialized medicine? This argues for privatized high deductible insurance coupled with HSA accounts – let the people decide how they want to spend their own dollars. How does this fit into the theme of this blog? and, good luck – if they find Colin Powell in your colon, you're probably not going to be able to treat it with surgery.

  2. Thanks for correcting my spelling–it was an embarrassing mistake.

    Otherwise, I just disagree with you. Among other things, I have looked at cost-benefit studies of the screening, and it looks like a good deal to me. As for blog content, it is my blog, and every now and then I just get a little reflective at midnight. So shoot me.

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