Seven States Attorney Generals, all Republican, are taking a look at it. Good for them. Richard Blumenthal was unavailable for comment.
Tag Archives: ObamaKare
$100 million paid to Senator for her vote for health care. Yeah okay, that was wasteful, but now we’re really going to get serious abut this. We mean it!
In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care’s dysfunctional delivery system. The system we have now promotes fragmented care and makes it more difficult than it should be to assess outcomes and patient satisfaction. The true costs of health care are disguised, competition based on price and quality are almost impossible, and patients lose their ability to be the ultimate judges of value.
Worse, currently proposed federal legislation would undermine any potential for real innovation in insurance and the provision of care. It would do so by overregulating the health-care system in the service of special interests such as insurance companies, hospitals, professional organizations and pharmaceutical companies, rather than the patients who should be our primary concern.
In effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants. This will make an eventual solution even more difficult. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all.
There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation succeeded in expanding coverage but—despite initial predictions—increased total spending.
A “Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System” recently declared that the Massachusetts health-care payment system must be changed over the next five years, most likely to one involving “capitated” payments instead of the traditional fee-for-service system. Capitation means that newly created organizations of physicians and other health-care providers will be given limited dollars per patient for all of their care, allowing for shared savings if spending is below the targets. Unfortunately, the details of this massive change—necessitated by skyrocketing costs and a desire to improve quality—are completely unspecified by the commission, although a new Massachusetts state bureaucracy clearly will be required.
Yet it’s entirely unclear how such unspecified changes would impact physician practices and compensation, hospital organizations and their capacity to invest, and the ability of patients to receive the kind and quality of care they desire. Similar challenges would eventually confront the entire country on a more explosive scale if the current legislation becomes law.
Selling an uncertain and potentially unwelcome outcome such as this to the public would be a challenging task. It is easier to assert, confidently but disingenuously, that decreased costs and enhanced quality would result from the current legislation.
So the majority of our representatives may congratulate themselves on reducing the number of uninsured, while quietly understanding this can only be the first step of a multiyear process to more drastically change the organization and funding of health care in America. I have met many people for whom this strategy is conscious and explicit.
We should not be making public policy in such a crucial area by keeping the electorate ignorant of the actual road ahead.
Panel recommends mammograms begin at 50, not 40, and repeated once every two years, not annually. It’s just about as effective so unless you’re Ms. “Just-About”, you need not worry. And don’t forget, since society is now going to be footing your medical bills, all of your health care decisions are belong to us. Just relax.
Democrats torn asunder over abortion while health care bill founders. Liberals cheered when helmet laws were enacted: “we pay for these people, we have the right to dictate what they do.” The same for seat belt laws, punitive cigarette taxes, soda fines, trans fat bans, etc. So now they are seeing what happens when they turn personal decisions over to their government to decide for them, and it’s not as much fun. Bottom line prediction: you’ll be able to have federally supplied health care or an abortion, but not both.
If you’d like to see the future of health care, consider ethanol: the law mandating its use was enacted as a sop to Iowa corn farmers and in the years since its passage, it has become clear that: it doesn’t clean the air: fuel injection systems don’t need and can’t use an “oxygenator”; it consumes more energy than it saves; it threatens the gains we’ve made in conservation; it adds extra, unnecessary cost to the price of gasoline; and it drives up the cost of food. Congress’ response: expand the program, throw more taxpayer subsidies at it.
Hypo: if two new medical devises are invented, each of which will save XXX lives but are so expensive that the choice of one will preclude the other, which machine will be adopted by the government: Machine A, which saves 5% more lives but is made in Backwater, Missouri in a freshman Congressman’s district, or Machine B, manufactured (deliberately) in the home district of the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee? There’s your future.
Maine’s health care program, “Dirigo” (I lead) is a failure, according to today’s NY Times.
This is not what the supporters expected. Dirigo, with all the features Cos Cob’s Jimbo Himes and his ilk whooped through the House last week, was supposed to solve the problems of uninsured patients and soaring health care costs and its adoption was cheered:
“America’s Agenda”, 2005: “Way to go, Dirigo! Big Win in Maine!”
Progressive States Network was sure the state had only to resist “Big Business” and it would continue its achievements.
Etc. etc. Google “Dirigo success” and see all the same arguments and predictions we’re been hearing nationally for the past few years. It would be discouraging if it weren’t for the eternal optimism of socialized medicine’s profound belief in the ultimate power of the government to fix anything.