Medical malpractice in America remains a thorny and contentious issue, made no less so by its virtual exclusion from the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) governing healthcare reform in America.
Which is why I was glad to see the former head of President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, now with the liberal Center for American Progress, cite it as his second top priority for gaining control of our out-sized medical spending – an implicit criticism of its omission from Obamacare.
Although speaking in the context of criticizing Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to offer vouchers so Medicare enrollees could purchase private health insurance, his comments about the need to address malpractice reform are a departure from the liberal talking points on Obamacare. Here’s what he had to say…
Former Obama Budget Head Challenges Paul Ryan To Demonstrate How His Budget Would Lower Health Costs
“Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposals to control health care spending by slashing the federal government’s contribution to Medicare and Medicaid and shifting that spending on to future retirees or the states, has dominated Washington’s conversation about entitlement reform. But…a group of health care economists and former Obama administration officials laid out an alternative approach that could achieve health savings by encouraging providers to deliver care more efficiently…
“‘Mr. Ryan has had too much running room to go out with proposals that neither will reduce overall health care costs nor will help individual beneficiaries simply because there has not been enough of an alternative put forward by those who believe that we really need to focus on the incentives and information for providers…If I had to pick out two or three things to do immediately, I would pick the accelerated (trend) towards bundled payments and non fee-for-service payment…
Continue reading “Medical Malpractice – What Obamacare Misses”
Filed Under: OP-ED, THCB
Tagged: Costs, Error Reporting, Malpractice, Medical errors, Peter Orszag, Texas, Tort reform
Oct 1, 2012
While Washington wonks continue to bicker over health policy, positive change is occurring outside the Beltway.
Last week, the Altarum Institute, a research organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, reported that the moderation in the growth of health-care costs we have seen over the past few years is continuing: Total health spending rose by less than 4 percent from February 2011 to February 2012. And it’s encouraging to see the progress that doctors, hospitals and other providers are making to improve the value of care — by cutting back on unnecessary procedures, for example, expanding their use of information technology, and switching from fee-for- service to compensation schemes aimed at maximizing the quality of treatment.
Instead of examining these changes and finding ways to encourage them, the Washington policy discussion continues to demonstrate its ability to, well, it’s not clear exactly what it does. The most senseless bloviating recently came from Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia, and a former official in the George W. Bush White House. He claims to have shown that the 2010 health-care reform act will substantially increase the budget deficit, despite official estimates to the contrary. The Washington Post decided this warranted prominent coverage.
What Blahous actually did was play a trick. His analysis begins with the observation that Medicare Part A, which covers hospital inpatient care, is prohibited from making benefit payments in excess of incoming revenue once its trust fund is exhausted. He therefore argues that the health reform act is best compared to a world in which any benefit costs above incoming revenue are simply cut off after the trust-fund exhaustion date. Then, he argues that since the health-care reform act extends the life of the trust fund, it allows more Medicare benefits to be paid in the future. Presto, the law increases the deficit by raising Medicare benefits.
Continue reading “Washington Stuck Fighting Wrong Health-Care Battle”
Filed Under: OP-ED, THCB
Tagged: Altarum Institute, budget deficit, Charles Blahous, Costs, Medicare, Peter Orszag
Apr 18, 2012
Former Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag is sounding a pretty serious alarm about American health care expenses lately. In the current issue of Foreign Affairs, he writes:
“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that between now and 2050, Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal spending on health care will rise from 5.5 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] to more than 12 percent. … It is no exaggeration to say that the United States’ standing in the world depends on its success in constraining this health-care cost explosion; unless it does, the country will eventually face a severe fiscal crisis or a crippling inability to invest in other areas.”
Are health care costs going to cripple America’s economy? Or could the polar opposite be true – that they are they really the overlooked engine of job growth for America’s 21st-century economy?
Consider China, a country transitioning into a modern economy, led by manufacturing. Manufacturing as a percentage of the Chinese economy today dwarfs the percentage from even 20 years ago. At this rate, manufacturing by 2050 will have all but consumed the Chinese economy, crippling its ability to invest in other areas.
It’s not outrageous to say a parallel can be drawn here with American health care.
Continue reading “Health Care As Economic Engine?”
Filed Under: Superhealthanomics
Tagged: Evan Falchuk, Peter Orszag
Sep 30, 2011