Nancy Pelosi’s Health Care Address – Brian Klepper

The featured highlight address at the opening session of the Families USA conference is by Nancy Pelosi, Congress’ first woman Speaker. In person, Speaker Pelosi clearly comes across as a brilliant and warm woman, a friend of Families USA, and she was introduced as a champion of social justice and equality in the 110th (2007) Congress, passing the first minimum wage increase in a decade and making college more affordable for working families. While I’m not certain this is true, I heard comments beforehand that this speech was slated as a major health care policy statement by the Speaker.

In it, she succinctly laid out several core principle of her view of reform.

"I want to start by talking about something that we all agree on: that everybody in America has a right to quality health care. But what is it that this health care should look like? What are the principles that this approach should have?"

    – A Strong Commitment to Biomedical Research. Since tax dollars must go to support this commitment, the fruits of that research should be available to everyone in America.

    – A Common Lifelong Electronic Health Record, with Confidentiality and Privacy. This supports the idea that the care of the most privileged person benefits when everyone is included in the system.

    – Care That Is Personalized To The Individual. Technology that helps us match the right care to individual differences and needs.

    – Bringing People Into The Loop (Opening Access). Making
care available for everyone in the country, and eliminating medical
disparities in the minority communities.

    – Prevention. Promoting healthy lifestyles with exercise and nutrition.

    – Mental Health Parity. In any given year, one in four
adults will have a mental condition, producing 1.3 million lost
workdays, and producing an enormous but mostly unappreciated toll on
the nation’s health and economy.

Obviously, these are all laudably broad objectives of any health
care reform plan. That said, with the notable exception of the commitment to better, more ubiquitious health care information technology, many of these planks are NOT roots of our current
crisis, and don’t acknowledge or address the structural flaws that are
driving the system into collapse. They don’t, for example, consider the
development of standards, pricing/performance transparency, tying
performance to payment, or special interest influence over policy.

So while her policy planks are all certainly desirable, if they
represent the parameters of her commitment to resolving the health care
crisis that is sapping access from the mainstream of American citizens and financial stability from the American economy,
then the Democratic party’s promise of genuinely addressing our health care dilemma is
less promising than I hoped.

5 replies »

  1. Hey peggy yahn, post your source for this Pelosi “interview”, and I’m not talking about some 2nd hand circulated e-mail without references.

  2. ‘Lord Help Us’.
    Windfall Tax on Retirement Income
    Hold on to your pocketbooks!!
    Nancy Pelosi wants a Windfall Tax on RETIREMENT Income. This woman is a nut case! You aren’t going to believe this.
    Madam speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to put a Windfall Tax on ALL stock market profits (including Retirement funds, 401Ks and Mutual Funds! Alas, it is true – all to help the 12 Million Illegal Immigrants and other unemployed Minorities!
    Boy, are we in trouble… This woman is frightening. She quotes….’ We need to work toward the goal of equalizing income in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest.’
    (I guess the lady doesn’t realize that 100 million “not-so-rich” American’s put $$$ into $401K’s BECAUSE their tax free)
    Ah … but we all need to make sacrifices so all the illegal immigrants have a shot at the good life!
    When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied : ‘We need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a long ways to guarantee these people the standard of living they would like to have as ‘Americans’.’
    This lady is out of her mind.

  3. Nancy Pelosi you are a bitch rather than a congress woman.
    shut you stinking mouth.Don`t interfer other contries` affairs.

  4. Shifting to a delivery system that reflects basic universal coverage, episode level remuneration, longer term outcome metrics, and administrative efficiency will occur. But as Winston Churchill pointed out “Americans always try to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else.”
    Those of us on the delivery, administrative or legislative side of this dilemma simply have greater incentives to maintain a fairly close semblance to our current system. That being the case, incremental improvements such as development of “user reasonable” common data collection and sharing are a realistic possibility.
    For example, in the case of physician EHR adoption, a sampling of the several hundred EMR/EHR options demonstrates why many physicians balk at implementing information systems that function more from a data rather than user driven perspective.
    The software systems that demonstrate facility/professional/patient integration that operate more like “Apple technologies” will likely do more to initially move the system integration ball than significant policy changes.

  5. “then the Democratic party’s promise of genuinely addressing our health care dilemma is less promising than I hoped.”
    Not unlike Pelosi’s after election promise to clean up politics in DC, then in the last appropriations bill approved about 12,000 earmarks. The Democrats also say they want to end the Iraq war, but continue to support funding for it. There’s no shortage of two-faces in DC.