Is Healthcare for All On It’s Way?

Is healthcare for all finally on it’s way here in America? I certainly hope so. From Paul Krugman who seems to think the prospects look good:

Since the last two posts were very down on the administration, let me say that the initial leaks on health care are encouraging. The supposed commitment of $634 billion to health care reform isn’t quite enough to pay for the subsidies that are an essential part of a universal-care system, but it’s not ridiculously short, either. It’s beginning to look as if Obama’s really going to go through with this — and if he gets us to universality, his legacy will be secure.

The Obama administration plans to set up a “reserve fund,” that is President Obama’s “attempt to demonstrate how the country could extend health insurance to millions more Americans and at the same time begin to control escalating medical bills that threaten the solvency of families, businesses and the government.”

It’s a start and damn good one at this point.

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4 Responses to Is Healthcare for All On It’s Way?

  1. Dan D says:

    If the $634 Billion is any indication of Obama’s health care plan, Obama is planning a radical change in the health care system. The plan has not yet been laid out and already Obama is earmarking more than half a trillion for it and explaining that it will just be the beginning of what will be necessary.

    One of the reasons that health care seems to be so expensive (among many others) is the cost of research and development in order to procure new treatments and drugs.

    At the moment the health care industry has a significant incentive to pour money into research and development because of the possibility of making money. What will happen when this incentive is marginalized when the government has taken over the health care system? Will our advancements slow down or even cease?

  2. It would be interesting to have the Administration appoint a Committee of six sigma analysts. Every bottle neck, redundant feature and useless part of the health care process should be brought to light. Small inefficiencies, multiplied a million times a day, are very costly to all. Since expenses that are wasted, could be used to save lives . . . this is a deadly serious issue. No joke.

  3. Kevin says:

    It will be interesting to see how this $634 Billion health care plan will be set out, as if it goes through, it could be the turn toward socialized health care. As said by the comment above, these broken issues and inefficiencies in the health care system do need to brought to light and remedied, since those costs could save lives instead, and not just waste the money being put into the health care system.

  4. SBO says:

    On the original article:

    I must take umbrage at the notion that “universal health care” represents any potential qualitative improvement in our health care system. And why, as a country founded on capitalist principles, should we endeavor for a socialized market? Even in medicine? It runs counter to our economic and political foundation. Please explain to me why I should pay for coverage for some poor fool who chooses not to work and who makes poor personal health choices? Our country was founded on equal opportunity, not equal privilege. It seems Mr. Obama, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Reid and the Capitol Hill cohorts have either forgotton or eschewed this basic principle.

    In response to some of the comments made, let me interject some commentary:

    Putting pressure on the HMO’s is one idea Mr Obama has proposed that I am in favor of. HMO’s were founded on the premise that they would remove inefficiencies and fraud from the system. Not only have they failed in that mission, but they have sullied their reputation further by acting as an obstructionist to patient care. Medical care is best left as a fee for service arrangement. Ask anyone who is a patient of a “concierge clinic”, and see what type of return they get from their healthcare dollar.

    Regarding medical costs, the pharmaceutical and biotech industry is a popular target. The ongoing Democrat onslaught of this industry is unfounded, and in many cases, is hypocritical. Look no further than Mr. Byron Dorgan, Democrat Senator, North Dakota. He champions a measure to allow reimportation of pharmaceuticals into the US, overlooking a prominent safety issue of counterfeit pharmaceutical products. However, in a stroke of true Washington hypocrisy, he strongly rallies against the reimportation of Canadian beef, citing “safety issues.” Maybe he would change his tune if a biotech shop opened up in his home state. Byron, you make the Washington hypocrisy hall of fame. You have no integrity.

    But getting back to the point, the opportunity to derive profit has led to significant improvements in treatment. I don’t find fault in the pharma R&D model. These companies reinvest 40-60% back into R&D to find the next “blockbuster.” And as consumers, we should laud these efforts. What needs to change is the patent protection process. For example, the extension of patents based on line extensions of products should be disallowed. Enantiomer and isomer technology needs to be scrutinized to a much greater degree to determine if there is a true clinical benefit. The HMO formulary approval process is a joke, and is a detriment to patient care. Remove risk pools and subversive pharmacy substitutions. Give the consumer more visibility and information to make a better choice.

    In terms of medical technology, there are many potential opportunities to improve productivity and efficiency. EMR, ERP and IS software does show promise and ROI. However, in many cases, we are dealing with soft metrics, and large hospital bureaucracies (or very cheap docs). It takes training, investment and patience to realize efficiencies from such systems. Dollars are in short supply for such investment. Mr. Obama’s budgetary inclusion for “modernizing” health care is a reprise of the Clinton administration measure, but with much less vision. Unfortunately, we don’t have the impending doom of Y2K to help stimulate investment. It takes alot to move a hospital CFO to spend $$. Certainly more than a weak presidential measure. Besides, the medical industry is notoriously a slow adopter of technology. If you want to make changes here, you have to incorporate those changes into law. Good luck with that one, Barack. Show some of that vision you promised us would translate into change. Takes more than a speech to make change, doesn’t it?