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POLICY: Healthcare crisis countdown

The Christian Science Monitor has a pretty interesting article about how the healthcare crisis countdown may lead to a big debate in health care politics either 2008 or later. My guess is much later, but it’s a matter of timing. And the later the system players leave it to sort themselves out, the more likely it’ll be that we get an unthinking single payer solution (as opposed to a thinking one).

Meanwhile John Abramson has joined the hate America crowd. Just because he has data and evidence on his side, he thinks he can get away with that stuff?!

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4 replies »

  1. “John, isn’t it all true?”
    Yes, and ? Does that make the article more intelligible? I think not.
    “I think healthcare is all of the above as each feeds off the other.”
    But isn’t the confusion about whether health care and health insurance are so nearly “the same” that they may be discussed and analyzed as though they were one business?
    Lots of distinct businesses feed off one another. I suppose that is fundamental to any economy. For example, the “rubber” and auto industries feed off one another but that does not make the rubber industry the equivalent of assembling cars. So the observation about feeding, while true, does not lead to useful action.
    If the cost of health care were not high, the cost of health insurance would not be high. If the cost of health care were not rising, the cost of health insurance would not be rising. The cost of insurance is a symptom of a deeper problem. You would not trust a physician who treated your symptoms as though they were the real diseases. Why make that mistake re the health care system? Why not focus on the deeper problem? The ability to focus on the deeper problem is hindered when one is not aware that there is a deeper problem. And that is the problem with confusing health care and health insurance.
    That is why I think it is an analytical mistake to confuse health care and health insurance. I also think it is more than a simple mistake that the media (and many so-called pundits, surprisingly enough) continue to do so.
    Anyway, that’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

  2. John, isn’t it all true?
    “The healthcare system in the United States is eroding. Costs are rising too fast. More and more people lack health insurance. Companies are dumping or shrinking employee health plans. Deductibles and copayments on medical services are rising.”
    I agree that media has turned into just another for profit corporate agenda that is more interested in not pissing off its advertisers. I too don’t read much of the “main stream” press or take local TV “news” seriously. But I think healthcare is all of the above as each feeds off the other. We need to fix the insurance system (one single pay) and get employers out of the business of paying for healthcare. Find a way to equitably pay for healthcare and bring everyone into the a system. And control costs. Are the health canaries just wrong?

  3. The linked article starts out this way:
    “The healthcare system in the United States is eroding. Costs are rising too fast. More and more people lack health insurance. Companies are dumping or shrinking employee health plans. Deductibles and copayments on medical services are rising.”
    The writer does not appear to know what he is talking about, or does not care. Is he talking about the “healthcare system” and “medical services”? Or maybe the subject is “rising costs”? Or is it “health insurance” “employee health plans” and “deductibles and copayments”?
    Sadly it is all too common for the media to confuse health insurance and health care. As a result, the public is also confused. Why is this important? Because by this means the media create misunderstanding of very real problems. Without clear understanding of the problems, we are prone to manipulation by agenda-driven special interests. We can be certain that “solutions” pushed at us by special interests suit their objectives. But how can anyone be certain that these “solutions” address real problems, when the real problems remain confused and ill-defined?
    I do not believe that so much of the media can possibly be so uninformed, unintelligent, and uninterested. Many, yeah – but not all. So I suspect there is a strong political bias at work in the media reporting and more importantly, in the editing. In other words, the mainstream media is itself a special interest pushing an agenda of its own. Because of this I usually stop reading an article when I notice that the concepts of health care and health insurance are being confused.
    In this article, the confusion is presented in the first five sentences.

  4. My guess is that we will muddle through until 2011, when Medicare is unable to process the sudden surge of baby boomers enrolling and there are lines at the offices and delayed payments and unanwered phones.

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