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POLICY/POLITICS: Our fearless leader demonstrates his vast understanding of the health care system

Here’s the man himself interviewed in the run up to the State of the Union by the the friendly WSJ:

The Wall Street Journal: Thanks for taking the time for us. We wanted to think forward to the State of the Union a little bit, next week. Obviously, health care is something that has moved back to the top of the agenda. You’ve got employers and employees both equally concerned about cost and availability. What’s the approach going to be this year, philosophically and specifically?President Bush: The government must work to reduce costs through the spread of information technology, which many in the health field say will help reduce the rising costs substantially; litigation reform to prevent these frivolous lawsuits from running up the cost of medicine, either through the practice of defensive medicine and/or premium increases, and actually drive good docs out of business. I’m particularly concerned about OB/GYNs; we have an OB/GYN crisis in states because of these lawsuits. The patient-doctor relationship is a crucial relationship in helping control the costs of medicine. The more transparent pricing is and the more opportunities patients have to make decisions in the health-care field, the more likely it is costs will not increase as dramatically as they have in the past.I believe in the expansion of HSAs [health savings accounts]. I will talk about my philosophy for health care in the State of the Union. I will specifically address issues that I want the Congress to take up over the course of this month, including how to expand HSAs to make them achieve an objective, which is to have a patient-doctor relationship that will have market forces within the decision-making process and the pricing of medicine; as well as have a system that’s portable for our workers, to recognize that we are a society which has significant job turnover, and therefore one of the uncertainties in a society in which there is job turnover is whether or not health care will go from one job to the next.As well, HSAs, in my judgment, as well as other innovative programs, like association health plans, will enable the small-business sector of the economy, in which there’s a lot of working uninsured, to be able to more likely afford health care. That’s what I’m going to be talking about.WSJ: How do you turn that into a bipartisan movement?Mr. Bush: The question going into the ’06 year is how do we take health care or entitlement reform, or all these issues, into something that the country really wants — which is a bipartisan look at issues, as opposed to what many interpret to be needless politics, so whether it be in health care or in a variety of issues we’ll be discussing. And that’s the challenge of the ’06 year.One big issue is competitiveness, of which health care is an important component. If our health-care system is such that small businesses, for example, can’t afford to stay in business, it’s going to obviously hurt our people, but it’s also going to make our country less competitive. The war on terror is a big issue. And I will continue to talk about a bipartisan approach to beating the terrorists. So whether it be in health care or these other issues, it’s, no question, a challenge.

So that’s it. 45 million uninsured, crisis at every level in the health care system and even rich people in Florida scared about the future and Bush believes that we going to solve it all by using IT to save money and sticking it to those blood sucking attorneys. Then of course we’re going to use the easily available transparent pricing to beat providers to death with market forces.  Finally, he thinks the remaining solution is HSAs, which any analysis shows cost the system money overall. At least that’s apparent to anyone who can do basic math, a group which doesn’t seem to include Bush or virtually anyone in his party.

OK. What’s actually going to happen? Not much is my guess. The House is in disarray since Delay’s indictment, and the Senate is in some risk of going back to the Dems in the November election, and the biggest health care story — Medicare part D — is shaping up to be a disaster for the Administration. So why would any Republican in a position of influence get behind these ideas? Especially as most of them are actually counter to the interests of the big contributors at the AHA, AMA and AHIP.

Oh, I know. It’s because health care is just another form of terrorism, and that demands bi-partisan cooperation. Yup, the important thing is to link the two. Only Bush and PhRMA can manage to do that.

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RaeTom LeithPat SalberMatthew HoltThe Medical Blog Network Recent comment authors
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Rae
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Rae

Assurant “Health” is the axis of evil.

Ron Greiner
Guest

Then don’t tell anybody Matthew.

Matthew Holt
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Matthew Holt

That I believe is discrimination, and will get you kicked out of doing business in most of California, Ron.

Ron Greiner
Guest

Brokeback Mountain cowbows and HSAs? Well MSAs discriminated against all single people including gays. The HSA does not discriminate against singles or gays. BUT, our rate software does not allow 2 people of the same sex to be married and get the 10% discount. So the HSA insurance will charge a gay couple 10% more than a married couple.
How’s that?

Tom Leith
Guest
Tom Leith

Yes, Pat, HSAs are like 401Ks, you are right about that. The HSA is not about Universal Coverage, so it is a canard to complain it doesn’t solve this problem. I do not know what you mean by “upper income strata” — if you mean “income above the median” all that means “middle class or better”. Lots of “not rich” people have 401Ks and 403Bs and other savings accounts. Those with BECIs are not specifically helped by the HSA, but they aren’t hurt either. The “know what the hell you are doing comment” is exactly right. This is why I… Read more »

Pat Salber
Guest

Come on, guys. Get serious. HSAs are to healthcare what 401 ks are to retirement…nice if you 1) Have a job 2) Are in the upper income strata 3) Know what the hell you are doing and 4) Didn’t inherit or develop some BECI (big expensive chronic illness). I, for one, think health policy wonks ought to have a disease before they pontificate.

The Medical Blog Network
Guest

Would love to see GWB in GGW. Then there is also Guys Gone Wild. GWB himself recently commented on Brokeback Mountain cowboys.
Ron, can we tie that to HSA?

Matthew Holt
Guest
Matthew Holt

I think Babes in Toyland, or possible Girls Gone Wild – Mexico is more realistic for Ron’s bunch.

Ron Greiner
Guest

I like the Wizard of Oz or anything Roman. I wear a Fortis ring (Steadfast in Latin). Do you remember the Fortis legions of Rome? I got my ring in Rome in 1994. The Ownership Society was enacted because of Fortis. Fortis – Solid Partners / Flexible Solutions The only Fortis TV commercial I have ever seen was a knight on horse back dismounting and pulling the sword from the stone and holding it in the air and then the name Fortis. They are the 32nd largest company in the world. They are currently in China focusing on their core… Read more »

The Medical Blog Network
Guest

Ron, you need more legendary comparisons to get your point across. Arthurian story s not enough. Suggestions:
– Lord of The Rings
– Narnia
– Harry Potter
– Troy
– South Park

Ron Greiner
Guest

President Bush will be explaining the tax free HSA in the State of the Union (1/31/06). Think of the HSA as the sword from the stone that President Bush will stick in the evil black heart of Socialized Medicine. The Prez will put Socialized Medicine down for good like a rabid dog.
Tax free HSAs are the birth of the 21st Century American Economy. I would say the birth of the Tri-Millenium Economy but I’m German and we are censored from any mention of a thousand years.
It’s all explained by Zandstra in Tri-pod Economics.