POLICY: The Not So Common Good

Catching up from when I was gone….this article on health reform went up at Spot-on a couple of weeks back. It’s called The Not So Common Good.

We’ve been hearing a lot about the problems of the uninsured. We’ve
been hearing more how the cost of healthcare is making it harder and
harder for individuals to afford insurance, and for employers to
provide benefits to employees. Those are the drivers for why health
care reform has suddenly emerged as a political force – even if the
governor who once led discussion of the topic, Mitt Romney, is
backpedaling away from his "liberal Governor of Massachusetts" pro-gay,
pro-big government stance so that he can appear sufficiently
conservative to win a Republican primary or two.

But the train is out of the station on the reform message. Even though the chances of real reform are slim,
everyone and their dog has a plan. Most of these plans are
self-serving. And even the ones that aren’t are generally built on
continuing the employment-based health care system that got us into
this mess in the first place; Senator Ron Wyden, economist Vic Fuchs
and the single payer crowd being the honorable exceptions. Continue

3 replies »

  1. “the employment-based health care system that got us into this mess”
    This sounds very odd. I was not aware that the U.S. has an employment-based health care system. Are you sure this is correct? Perhaps you meant something else?

  2. it is hard to comment such a large number of mismatched “facts” and assertions.
    However, I would like to make one simple point.
    It’s not the prices its the costs. The prices reflect costs. Using GDP and the money burning apparatus we call medicare/medicaid to justify government control is inane. Especially, when the cosequences are ignored.
    As far as the AMA whining. I agree, but for the exact opposite reason- physician’s should not be subject to price fixing at all. Go ahead and lower the payment schedules. Cut cut cut. Cut them in half if you see fit. But then don’t complain when the eventual decline in quality, poor access, and incresed waits occur. You will reap those benefits. Unless of course the physical instead of economic enslavement of physicians is part of your plan
    Have a nice day

  3. Yep — that was Spot On.
    Not to defend frank self interest, but its true that policies (especially payment schedules) can be changed much faster than even the most talented management team can adapt physical plant, staff, technology, and operating practices. This has got to be accounted-for somehow: the common good requires it. We should be thinking kaizen on a grand scale.
    > or find Americans willing to pay much more tax
    This is the beauty of the Federal Government. We don’t have to pay more tax, we can borrow John Edwards’ $100B per year. Someone else will pay the tax. The question for me is “what insurance should be bought for them?” My personal answer: a Medicare Advantage plan, which would be paid a risk-adjusted premium for each new head…