Health Care Reform: Options(Part 1) – Last Weeks Meeting (9/10/9)

Health Care Reform: Options(Part 1)

This was information-packed, lively, and advanced the debate. My presentation
was overly-long–sorry. Opening remarks of 25+ minutes are just not what this
group is about, even though HC is the most complicated single issue we’ve ever
tried to tackle in any detail. Still, I hope I got my basic message across:

1. Our current system is an overpriced, wasteful mess that is universally
believed to be unsustainable. Employer-based HC is slowly collapsing, and
something will replace it. The only question is what and for whose benefit and
at whose expense.

2. The Democrats’ reform plan is a set of modest, incremental changes that
leave the system basically intact, but that lay the foundation for change.

3. These reforms are intended to increase competition among health insurers,
give consumers more stability and protection, and begin the long, slow process
of improving HC quality in general.

4. If these changes work together synergistically as advertized, our system
will end up providing better HC to more Americans at lower prices even as the
employer-based system continues inevitably to decline.

5. Anyone who doesn’t like the Democrats’ ideas needs to come up with their
own, and the GOP’s “solutions” of tort reform and not much else reveal that they
don’t believe major change is necessary.

That’s my opinion, anyway.

As for what other people said, I thought Alene raised some good points on cost
control and possible future cuts to Medicare. And, John suggested we should
think more about what lessons we can learn from other countries. We should
revisit these issues next week, after my (much, much shorter) opening
presentation for, “HC: Winners and Losers.” More on that in my next post.

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