Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Health care costs

Wine benefits, should they or shouldn't they - that is the question. A U.S. Department of Health and Human services study that examined whether Medicare money should be spent on discouraging alcohol use made one startling discovery: Drinking wine can reduce annual health care costs.

Analyzing data during a five-year period for more than 4,000 relatively healthy adults, the department determined that insured light and moderate wine drinkers can each save Medicare about $400 in health care costs per year.

The subjects of the study were monitored for medical treatments, hospitalizations, length of stay and costs of each stay. Those who drank six to 13 glasses of wine per week had the lowest Medicare costs in comparison to nondrinkers or heavy drinkers. Moreover, non-drinkers and heavy drinkers cost Medicare approximately the same amount of money, the study asserted.

Will the new Medicare research be the data that convinces medical skeptics to “prescribe” wine during yearly health check-ups? Perhaps you’ll find out next time you visit your physician.

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