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Families USA: Tom Daschle on Health Care Reform – Brian Klepper

Former Senator and Majority/Minority Leader Daschle gave the opening address on the 2nd day of the Families USA Health Action conference. Mr. Daschle has a new book coming out in March on America’s health system and our past efforts to fix it.

I was honestly impressed with Mr. Daschle’s grasp of the sweep of health care problems and how they play out. Mostly importantly, he was clearly aware of the deep challenges associated with getting meaningful change, given the industry’s control of Congress and the policy-making process.

"One of the biggest tactical mistakes we’ve made, the opponents of
health reform have defined the debate. As a result, we’ve lived under a
number of myths. Perhaps the biggest myth of all is that the US has the
best health system in the world. So before the debate can begin, we
need to all understand the same basic facts. We need to understand how
we got here and where we need to go."

"Incremental change in our
system is no longer a viable option. Instead we need comprehensive
reform. In growing numbers the American people are demanding that we do
something. Our goal should be to build what current and retired members
of Congress have today, and make that available for all Americans."

Here are some elements of his platform.

Establish an autonomous oversight body for health care
comparable to the Federal Reserve for our monetary sector. We need to
give this group the ability to control costs, starting with chronic
disease, which represents the largest block of costs to the system.

Investments in information technology would result in quantum leaps in efficiencies and quality improvements.

Pooling would aggregate the risks/costs for small business and individuals.

– Negotiate drug pricing. Build on and leverage the purchasing volumes that government already  is responsible for.

Prevention. Wellness, easy access and early intervention clearly saves enormous dollars.

Comparative Effectiveness. As
the Congressional Budget Office and Institute of Medicine have recently
pointed out, an autonomous national institute that could use large data
sets to identify the approaches that work best would clarify and unify
clinical practice throughout America, and would have significant impact
on both quality and cost.

– Transparency. We cannot fix our problems until we can see them more clearly.

– Medical Malpractice. Make it easier for physicians to make the best decisions, and protect them from frivolous legal actions.

Patient-provider interactions. Take advantage of technology to smooth the flow of communications between patients and the health system.

Universal Coverage. Increase access through health vouchers and coverage.

This is a much more thorough list than Ms. Pelosi offered, and Mr. Daschle seemed more aware of,  sensitive to and committed to the political challenges represented by the relationship between Congress and health care special interests. While none of his recommendations are novel or particularly surprising, there is no question that Mr. Daschle’s experience, access to governmental and business power, and clarity about what needs to be done represent important potential in the ongoing effort to actually get real change accomplished.

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36 replies »

  1. The ca micra law is totally unfair. It is a “one size fits all” solution put into play 30 years ago with absolutly no cost of living adjustment. Hospitals and doctors get an exemption from the law and virtually answer to nobody. A doctor can legally get away with murder. Pain and suffering has no sliding scale. A loved one who is killed by a doctors negligence is awarded the same amount of money as a patient who had the wrong “pinky” finger operated on. Lawyers will very seldom take a ca. malpractice case unless there are substancial economic losses by the plaintiff.
    Those of you that have never had to call your kids and tell them that their mother is dead can not understand how frustrating this law is. The proponents blame the “greedy trial lawyers” and insist that $250,000.00 is fair compensation. They blame malpractise suits on the rising cost of health care when in fact less than 2% is spent on victim awards.
    Maybe I should stand outside of the hospital where my wife died and let doctors and hospital staff members kick me in the balls at a buck a shot. I would make a lot more money and it would be a lot less painful

  2. Cost of any service can not be controlled or reduced unless the DEMAND is controlled OR the SUPPLY is increased. We all know this fundamental economic rule.
    We are doing exactly the opposite. DEMAND is rising as there is no education for PREVENTIVE measures for the younger generation. The cost of fixing the sick will keep rising as we do not control the cause of sickness.
    TAX Dollars will only provide the required education and help younger generation to stay away from the health problems. Since the US health system components are FOR PROFIT organizations, none of them including your Primary Care Physician is interested in you being healthy. The physician wants you to keep visiting him as often as possible so that the account can be billed without interruptions.
    Other major issue of the Health insurance system failure is absence of Code of Conduct for the participants.
    I have auto-insurance which comes with traffic regulations and a monitoring system and violation surcharges. I have Proffesional Liability insurance which also has Ethical Code of Conduct, Town, State and Federal Regulations to follow, Professional Technical Codes to comply with and a License to maintain with continuing education hours.
    How come nothing such CODE for the Health Insurance.
    It took 10,000 years of civilization growth in EAST for entire SUB-CONTINENT to become VEGETARIAN by rule.
    Just like our establishments are becoming SMOKE FREE, it will be another decade or two to be free from ALCOHAL and ANIMAL PROTEINS.
    ONLY GOVT. can force such policies but without getting into financing the system.
    I gave up my health insurance since 2003 after 18 years keeping it. Now I am self insured and take no medicines but eat very very healthy food.
    GOD BLESS AMERICA AND THIS WORLD.

  3. Health reform is not expanding coverage to increase demand which further bankrups the system.
    Expanding coverage to the uninsured will cause the insured to cancel their coverage and try to qualify for the free program.
    Expanding coverage so that doctors, hospitals and drug companies get paid, without improving health, is is useless pursuit. If the Baby Boomers get sick on time, costs will implode the system.
    The shils for the government who participate here should be easily detected by their advocacy for greater largesse.

  4. This is my take: Medicare has been hiring Insurance Companies to manage their healthcare business requirements for a fee for each participant plus Medicare also provides the $s to the Insurance Companies to pay the amount due the service providers that is permissable under the Medicare guidelines. The Insurance Companies go forth with very attractive rates to Medicare Recipients to entice them to sign up. The “contracts” are for one year, and one needs to sign up again for the next year or just do nothing and you are automatically “in”. The reason for the annual renewal is so the Insurance Company can adjust the rates upward. (Never down!)! They also raise the co-pay amounts that are paid by members to providers to lower the costs–I guess to keep more of the Medicare funds in house. My point is that we signed up for a Medicare Advantage Plan in 2007. The rate was so attractive, one would be stupid to not join. It started at $15/mo. which included a plan D for prescription drugs. In 2008, it rose to $28/mo. for the same option plan, an 86% increase. This year, the same option plan is now $46, or a 64% increase. What started just 2 years ago at $15 is now $46, a 300% increas in just two years!! What happened?? The Medicare fund pays the fee to the Insurance Company for each member of the Company’s plan plus it pays the cost for the services provided by caregivers. The members received big percentage increases for the same service. Also, the Insurance Co. has increased the copay amount the member must pay the service providers. My primary care Doctor now gets $20 per visit from me. It was $10. Greed is controlling again, just like the financial markets. Sect. Daschle et al, do something to put a stop to this, or healthcare will just keep esculating out of sight while everybody thinks the idea is to reduce costs for the people.

  5. Some bozo said doctors should be paid the same as school teachers – what a stupid thing to say. YOU have a choice, go to school , party like heck and learn to load a film projector or take some physics, math, chemisrty and biology classes, spend your college years with your head in a book. Barely pass a state mandated proficiency exam or pass the MD Boards. Now why in the hell should these people earn the same wage?

  6. Are all of you folks blind? Look at what the fed has done with the financial situation and now you want tohand health care to a similar body? I know it is a tough and difficult thing to swallow but some of us worked hard and have health care – where I pick my doctor and we decide the treatment – and some didn’t work or save and now they don’t have! Put health care above 6-pack on the grocery list and more Americans would have health care. I wish I had all of premiums back to piss off – I don’t, instead I have health care. It is not the responsibility of the federal government of the U. S. to provide you health care!!! That is your place, you want it, buy it.

  7. The absolute solution is to cut costs. Just say NO to greedy doctors. Doctors should get paid the same as elementary school teachers. $50K MAX. Thank God we FINALLY have some smart Democrats like Mr. Daschle and President Obama that can reign in those fat, lazy, greedy bastard doctors!!!

  8. I have adequate health insurance… in addition I have mandatory medicare. Throughout my 41 years as a U.S. Civil Servant I maintained Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance. I continue to pay nearly $400.00 a month for the exact same insurance I had throughout my career.. and in addition now that I am 65 I am also paying nearly a $100 a month for medicare part B. Doctors would gladly see me a year ago.. but I just relocated to another state and when I tell them I have Medicare AND Blue Cross.. they tell me they are not taking anymore Medicare patients. I have called over 100 offices in Columbus, Ohio and still have no primary care physician. How can I pay MORE than I have ever paid.. and still not have the ability to find a physician? Something is terribly wrong. I cannot drop my Blue Cross Blue Shield because my wife is on my policy and will loose her insurance if I drop mine… she is only 60 years old.

  9. No, No, Senator Daschle. This is more of the same and expecting a different result. We can’t deal with insurance Goliaths. We must stop their waste of health care dollars.
    We need Health Care Savings Accounts. One for every citizen, from birth. Let us fund them with monthly installments of pretax dollars, let the government “bail out” the system until we have saved the amount we would have if this reform had been implemented when it should have been; and thereafter we will manage our own health care without government funding and without no one’s interference.
    Thank You Very Much.

  10. First, I don’t care about what is going on in Cuba or any other socialized state. This is about healthcare, not about pushing forth socialist ideas.
    Having first a heart attack and subsequently open heart surgery 21 years ago (39 years old) the 4th of January, doctors who have examined me told me if they didn’t see the scar on my chest, they would have never known I ever had a heart attack. My heart has completely healed. I still suffer from arteriorsclerosis and always will. A genetic problem, not one caused from eating excess junk foods.
    I have followed a low-fat (saturated) diet these past 21 years and exercised as much as possible. Because I was unemployed at the time and having no health insurance, I had to pay a private hospital and doctor for my initial care. I was ‘talked’ into going to the VA hospital for the necessary open heart surgery. Something I was scared to do. The doctors were from the Baylor school of medicine and evidently did a fantastic job. My doctors and I experimented without cholesterol medication by trying to control my HDL & LDL levels thru exercise and diet. For six months, I ran 6 miles a day and ate nothing but vegetables. My cholesterol went through the roof and I’ve been on medication ever since. Everything has been brought under control as a result.
    Now, things are beginning to change within the VA. I just recently had my medication not only changed but the dosage reduced from 80Mg to 20Mg as well. I was never told (this never happened before) this was going to occur. I had to call and discuss w/my PA.
    If this is the where the federal government is heading, I feel sorry for anyone needing healthcare. Problems like these under government control never improve. They only get worse. I dread what the future will be like under socialized medicine.

  11. The creation of a Federal Health Board sounds somewhat reminiscent of DHHS’ National Center for Health Care Technology (1979-82) whose charge was to assess the value of established and new technologies. Although its tenure was short-lived, one should learn from the reasons for its demise.

  12. The problem with most of the posts is that they don’t address the real problem: the very basis of what constitutes health. We have a medical industry in this country, developed by hook and by crook over the past 100+ years. Everything that Daschle speaks about is supporting the same corporate centered system that exists. The problem is not whether the medical system is controlled by the government or the private corporate sector. The problem is that we have no philosphical underpinning that supports health. It is not just people eating too much. It is that the USDA supports the greed of Monsanto and large agribusiness with their toxic and soil depleting growing practices. It is that the junk food industry goes scot free in selling garbage that is promoted 24/7 in mind assaulting high energy marketing. It is that this country does not apply any meaningful ‘science’ to the drugs fast-tracked into the market without any regard to the death defying consequences of them. It doesn’t address the mass marketing of the drug corporations to medical students, in their universities, as a legitimate part of their training, but real nutrition is not taught as a health care practice. Quite the contrary, most doctors still poo poo nutrition as a healing protocol and patronize people who tout the benefits of vegetarian rich diets.
    Cuba has one of the best health care systems in the world. It completely replaced its doctors who all fled with the revolution fearful of not having as much income as they greedily sought. Today Cuba sends medical people worldwide to help in disasters. She even offered to send about 1500 doctors here after Katrina–of course Bush refused, as he did other monies and offers of aid from many countries. Cuba will train Americans in medicine completely free for the the simple promise that these new doctors will return to work in poor communities for about 5 years. Community service is part of their training. Humanistic perspectives are taught, not just the junk science paid for by Big Pharma that hides most negative effects and lies about benefits.
    Allopathic drugs are the 3rd biggest cause of death in this country. But that is just from hospital records. Since doctors are not required to report adverse effects of drugs, the numbers used are about ten percent of the problem. And when you consider how many deaths are attributed to diseases when it is drugs that caused the problem, I venture to say that legally prescribed allopathic drugs are the biggest cause of death in this country today.
    Bottom line, is that we have a medical industry that is becoming increasingly fascistic. Pharmaceutical corporations are held harmless for the disaster of their vaccines. Autism is at the level of 1:155 in this country today, but we can’t hold these corporations accountable for their dangerous drugs. And the FDA, the agency designated to watch out for our health, is a total prostitute to the drug companies.
    And Tom Daschle will support this entire system. His ideas only look to cut doctors liability now, limit medical care to a formulaic system, have decisions made by another ‘independent’ agency that can made decisions without public discussion of any import, etc. He is lifting from the USDA and the FDA. The whole system stinks so it doesn’t matter who runs it.
    It is all stacked against real health care with real individual choice. And I haven’t even talked about holistic healing for prevention as well as treatment. For my dollar, not having had any insurance for over 40 yrs of my adulthood, I wouldn’t pay for any of what is being proposed unless they reinforce support of the DSHEA regs of 1994, attack the Codex Alimentarius for its support of GMO’s and efforts to destroy organic agriculture, and support all holistic forms of healing as part of freedom of health choice.

  13. If you ever worked for these bloody insurance companies (I have for 5 years) you would never want them involved in any medical decision making either medical or mental health. They choose who live and die and who can practice and who can’t. Don’t believe fools that say the government can’t run something. Also beware of certain bought dogs in congress that report to lobbyists. Hilary Clinton had exactly the right idea (single payor) at the wrong time. Now is the right time.

  14. Having lost a 19-year old son to unethical and incompetent care by a bunch of cardiologists in his college town, and having studied the scientific medical research related to his care and the general poor quality of healthcare in this country, I make the following suggestions:
    1) We patients must have an enforced, national patient bill of rights to protect us from dangerous healthcare and engage us fully in our own care. I have proposed such a bill of rights in my book “A Sea of Broken Hearts.” My proposal is based on the Institute of Medicine book “Crossing the Quality Chasm” published in 2001.
    2) The way physicians continue their education after medical school must be reformed. Residents working 30-hour continuous shifts is an outrage to patient safety. State-mandated continuing medical education for physicians is a recipe for incompetence and must be reformed to include education specific to the physician’s specialty, require demonstration of competence (at least every 3 years), and include demonstration of the ability to create and properly interpret ELECTRONIC medical records. Physicians with lifetime certificates (issued before 1990) from medical boards must demonstrate competency or inform their patients when they last demonstrated competence to a medical board.
    3) Alleged malpractice can be dealt with in a much fairer way than is now practiced. While some law suits may be frivolous, more often physicians protect each other from acountability for medical errors. In my book I have proposed a very simple way to be fair to patients who have potentially been harmed and to physicians tired of wrongful acusations. There is not space to describe that approach here, but it would work beautifully.

  15. As much as I like the idea of universal healthcare (especially since I do not have it right now because I cannot afford it), I do not think that I want to see it put into practice. The government has already shown us how it is able to “help” us ensure aid in tough times with our own money (i.e. social security – something I am positive I will never see). Sure it would work at first, but just like SS, what if a decade or two down the road Congress sees they have this “fund” overflowing with money that they think will never run out – so they start taking a little here to fund this project and little bit there to fund that one (which is exactly what happened with SS). Next thing you know, we’ve been paying all this money and we still don’t have anyone paying for healthcare because the government has gone and spent it all.
    However, the need for reform exists and I am fully behind that idea. After Barack Obama’s press conference recently, while those of the CNBC staff were commenting on their fears of the government taking over health care, someone made a comment regarding the disparity in the quality of health care for those working for large firms as opposed to those working in small firms. Therein lies the key. LARGE GROUP HEALTH CARE PLANS (those of 10,000 + members) provide the best means to protect both insurers and the insured. They PROTECT THE INSURER because they spread the affects of significant medical expenses incurred by some over the premiums received from a very large number of healthy individuals. They PROTECT THE INSURED because if the insurer wants to raise premiums, they must raise the premiums of all those participating in the plan with similar coverage by the same amount. As they say, “there’s safety in numbers”.
    The solution is to take the focal point of the group plan away from our places of employment. Today, in the computer age, the inconveniences of dealing with a greater number of individuals (instead of dealing with a few people in a human resources department, which employer plans afforded) have been significantly reduced.
    Legislation can be initiated providing incentives for insurers to offer large group health care plans with certain specified minimum coverage. Once an individual selects a plan, that plan stays with them no matter where he or she was employed. Recent graduates might adopt the same insurer as that of their parent(s) and pay the premiums on their own until they became employed. Once they became employed, they may switch to their new employer’s primary health care insurer’s plan, but if they elect to stay with their current provider, the employer would include payments to that provider with the employer’s periodic payment to its primary health care insurer. The latter would retain the premiums for those employees having elected to use its plan and forward the premiums for those choosing not to do so to those non-electing employees’ providers. In essence, the employer’s primary insurer would function as a clearing agent for those not insured by it, which it would have agreed to do in order to qualify as a group health care insurer.
    Funds for health insurance premiums could be withheld from the employee’s pay and matched by the employer, applying some designated percentage similar to the manner in which Social Security and Medicare taxes are currently withheld. In fact, insurers might also provide disability and post retirement health and pension benefits similar to those provided by Social Security and Medicare, eliminating the need for those governmental institutions.
    I can elaborate more on this subject. I have many more suggestions regarding health care and answers to many of the “what about…?” questions if anyone is interested. Just contact the email I typed in in order to post this comment.

  16. Upcoming incremental reform I recommend-
    Establish an autonomous oversight body for health care comparable to the FAA for the purpose of reporting on disasters, such as happened at the Redding Medical Center in Redding California
    Control costs of chronic disease management by empowering primary care physicians to manage the patients.
    Invest in information technology to allow claim processing as easily as one can buy gas with a credit card, with prepay safeguards as comprehensive as Fais Isaacs provides for VISA, with patient insurance company access protected as strongly as banks provide for their internet based banking services.
    Pool the risks/costs for small business and individuals by allowing individuals to buy policies personally or through their employer at reasonable rates and without pre-existing condition exclusions upon proof of continuous insurance coverage.
    Allow Medicare to negotiate drug purchases under parts A, B, and D.
    Encourage primary care physicians to see urgent cases 7 daus a week in their offices to prevent unnecessary use of emergency departments.
    Fund comparative effectiveness research beginning with drugs, and high volume, high cost interventions such as treatment of certain cancers, and interventions for conditions that are much less costly to treat in other developed countries.
    – Transparency. Encourage hospitals and physicians to post their retail proices for CPT codes and DRGs on the internet.
    – Medical Malpractice–provide tort reform similar to California’s MICRA for all participating Medicare providers.
    – Encouarge primary care physicans to communicate with patients electronically (e-mail) by supporting montly fees for patient management–self-pay or through insurance.
    – Universal Coverage. Encourage development of non-profit insurance companies. Extend COBRA requirements until the former employer is eligible for Medicare or gains coverage through other means. Allow patients under 65 to buy into Medicare parts A and B at the full actuarial price.
    Encourage States to repeal insurance benefit mandates in order to make health insurance more affordable.
    Encourage physicians and hospitals to organize into fully integrated health care delivery systems.
    Open a government sponsored health care blog to consider other ideas and find way to tap into the “wisdom of crowds.”

  17. Dear President-elect Obama and Senator Daschle,
    Any Healthcare Reform that does not establish a reliable control of the QUALITY of delivery of care is doomed.
    Why is the US Healthcare dead last among industrialized countries, in terms of the QUALITY of the delivery of care ?
    Because the quality of care is under the control of those that deliver that care, i.e. each individual hospital ” controls ” itself.
    How can someone be ” judged ” by himself ?
    The reason Airline transportation is safer than driving a car, walking, or a train, is NOT due to a ” Single Payor ” system, NOR is it due to ” Market Forces “, as the government does not pay for our airline tickets, nor is a First Class passenger any safer than a passenger in the Coach section of the plane.
    What’ s the secret of this outstanding Safety record ?
    Airlines’ Passenger Safety is achieved through three fundamental pillars:
    1) The Black Box
    2) The FAA
    3) NASA
    The Healthcare industry has NONE of these three basic requirements.
    Hence, the fastest way to reduce US Healthcare costs is NOT by reducing healthcare providers’ reimbursement, but by drastically cutting down the number of unnecessary treatments, counter indicated surgical procedures and PREVENTABLE errors and complications.
    WE CAN DO IT !
    Because the US has some of the finest Medical Schools, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnological, Medical Devices industries,… in the world .
    Thus, the US could rank First among industrialized countries, provided we establish an independent system to assure the quality of delivery of care, as our patients deserve.
    See, ” The Big Picture:
    Effects of Lack of Reliable Quality Control in Hospitals.”
    http://allianceforpatientsafety.org/bigpicture.php
    In search of the “Black Box” for a reliable and cost-effective quality control
    of the delivery of medical care – 2/2006
    by Gil N. Mileikowsky, M.D.
    Powerpoint presentation of Dr. Mileikowsky view presentation
    Powerpoint presentation of Dr. Bard view presentation
    WHO ranking of countries’ health care performance view rankings
    SBA Testimony “American solution-the black box” watch video
    Lumetra Report Recommends Our “Black Box” Concept read excerpts
    Respectfully submitted,
    Gil Mileikowsky MD
    http://allianceforpatientsafety.org/socalphysgm.pdf

  18. I completely agree with Dr. Rosenfeld’s list of “missing elements” of what is driving up health care costs. However, this list is an IN ADDITION TO, not either or.
    ANY Board, Commission, oversight body that is to ‘overhaul’ the system, has include personal choices in the minimum level of care. Or, charge them for their choices.
    I know, I know, lifestyle nazi’s on the march. When you spend as much time as staff do with patients that smoke outside, in the cold, from their trach stoma, in their hospital gowns, dragging an IV pole behind them,refusing treatment for nicotine addiction but demanding all of the medications to ensure they breath easier…among other unimaginables… you too would start to think how crazy the system is set up to reward truly debilitating behavior.

  19. This is ridiculous. Health care like the federal reserve board is another wasteful bureaucracy. Heck, there are a majority of people that want to eliminate the fed! Imagine what a government controlled program would look like? What we need are more choices not more government/nanny state methods of imposed control. Let us purchase medications throughout the world, let us obtain insurance from other states, let us choose the type of insurance we want, let us pay our premiums TAX FREE. I believe the only congressmen who came up with a viable solution happened to be a Doctor himself. Dr. Ron Paul.
    I say keep government out of my wallet, my life and my body!

  20. Daschle, though informed, is just another joke. Effectively he will end up creating another layer of expensive and inefficient beuaracracy and nothing in essence will change. Here are the issues:
    1. AMERICAN LIFESTYLE: Cuba spends 1/100 on health than we do and they have longer lifespan and better infant mortality! Why? They are poor and starving and are not fat glutonous pigs like we are in USA. Wake up. 70% of healthcare currently is dealing with lifestyle issues. Period.
    2. END OF LIFE ISSUES: 70% of a persons health expenditure occurs during the last 2 yrs of thier life, as we keep our aging debiliated 80 yr old grand parents on life support. This is insanity and needs to stop. Let people die with dignity.
    3. LITIGINOUS SOCIETY: The majority of what doctors do is practice defensive medicine. We can be sued for the most inane things. All of the 25million dollar lawsuits over someones messed up toe trickles down to higher insurance costs. What we need is UNIVERSAL TORT REFORM!
    4. ADMINISTRATIVE BULLSHIT: 30% of cost and 50% of time is spend on bullshit forms and paperwork, and redundancy largely secondary to the above issues.
    2.

  21. I totally agree with Larry Pius’s comments. Until we stop wasting money on the duplication of health care delivery in this country, we will never get a grip on the costs. Transparency, cost savings and a just system of delivery can best be achieved through a single payer for health care. I hope the wave of hope that brought Obama to where he stands today will continue to surge forward with significant and lasting health care reform.
    Jody Curran
    President, Brookline Educators Union
    Massachusetts

  22. Cost is the major killer. We have to get the cost in control. PHR is a great tool for that:
    -Nurses spend 50% of time on paperwork
    -Physicians spend 38% of time on paperwork
    -13 pieces of paper are generated per visit
    -The office spends $10 to track paper records
    -The cost to process a claim on paper is $3
    -The average expense to transcribe is $10
    -40% of the time health info. is missing
    -35% of healthcare cost is wasted
    -Documentation is defective 34% of the time
    -Labs are duplicated 11% of the time
    -There are 950 million patient visits per year
    -Healthcare costs are rising at 8% per year

  23. I have never heard anyone address the main cause of high health care costs, only the effect.
    I know everything costs more these days but prescription drug prices are way out of line. The 7 year period that allows drug companies to charge exorbitant prices, protected from competition, is excessive. Research costs are certainly recoverd much sooner.
    Pharmaceutical lobbists have had a hold on our lawmakers long enough. When will the “money cord” be cut and laws passed that favor consumers? Bring drug prices down and insurance prices will fall making premiums more affordable, then address excess physician and hospital cost.
    Check out the unbelivable grant of 7 more years under patent to Pfizer, the producer of Celebrex. That is 14 years of monsterous prices. Insurance companies must charge higher premiums in order to recoup their expense.
    Trying to come up with ways to pay these exessively high insurance rates is not the answer. Get to the root of the problem – pharmaceutical companies.
    I am uninsured. Why? Because I am 64 years old and the insurance companies do not want to pay for the drugs needed to deal with problems onset by my age. They want a high premium but also make exceptions to treatment or drugs for any condition I am currently or previously suffered.
    I am waiting for Medicare. That is not a good solution. When I’m 65 Medicare can pay the pharmaceutical companies their high prices. Force price reductions not micro-manaaged care. More red-tape to get treatment will be a nightmare.

  24. So important is health care to a free society that I developed a mainstage theatre production which amounts to the ultimate encounter with Tommy Douglas, the Father of Universal Health Care in North America.
    Something to keep in mind as you explore the realities of establishing universal health care in the U.S.
    You may want to consider the value of this at one of your forums, conventions, conferences.
    1 866 339 – 0075 (Toll Free in U.S. and Canada

  25. To Whom It May Concern:
    I believe Daschel and Obama are on the right track. The problems and concerns of the healthcare community are well documented. We need to make reform a state of mind, garner the will and $’s, and along the way embrace wellness. The attached URL’s might shed further light on the subject.
    http://wellness.wikispaces.com/Sabatini+J+Monatesti
    http://health.scribemedia.org/2007/04/06/the-current-state-of-health-it/
    Regards,
    Sabatini Monatesti

  26. I want Obama to be aware of the following: Take his time and get Health care and prescription coverage right — don’t make mistakes out of haste and I personally would like a single payer system with Medicare and even the VA included. Is that too much to ask?

  27. Use the government’s purchasing power to lower the cost of prescription medications. I have 34 years of experience in health care and I have seen so much financial abuse of the medicare payment system.

  28. While the Mr. Daschle has blended a unique “cure” for health care reform, he has glossed over one major point, self induced illness. Of dollars spend on health care, tobacco, alcohol and obesity account for 70 percent. As a general plan, I applaud the progressive thinking of designing a universal plan, but until the individual has some accounting for responsibility in the cost, no system will fix the “problem”.

  29. Another insider that will change Washington or for that matter health care??? We all know health care needs some reform now let’s see if he can do something that makes sense for the consumer, patients and providers. Government controlled health care is a joke. When has the government run anything effectively?

  30. I have watched him for a long time and he truely is a progressive, and open democrat. I loved his fighting spirit against the Medicare Part D bill. Yes I have also read his bood and I found it very good. We are very lucky to have him as Secr. of HHS. I can’t wait until January 20th.

  31. Sen Daschle’s ideas certainly have a great deal of merit but until the annual burden of $600B in profit overhead and redundant administrative costs represented by over 1200 competing private health insurance programs is lifted from the USA health system by implementing a single-payer solution as proposed in H.R. 676, all of the Federal Health Boards in the world will have very little effect on the overall problem.
    At the same time, the Senator Daschle’s [soon to be the new Secretary of HHS] proposed Federal Health Board could be incorporated into the New Expanded Medicare for All to great effect.
    Larry Pius, Dir.
    HR676.org, Inc.
    Nov 20, 2008

  32. I just heard that Tom Dashle is going to be the next Sec. Health. What a great choice!
    I worked in healthcare informatics for 15 yrs. Over that period costs were shifted between stakeholders and risk shifted to the individual, but little was accomplished. It’s encouraging to read that Tom Dashle thinks we need comprehensive change. The outline seems reasonable but we will need to execute.
    As a Democrat I worked and voted for the incoming Administration and Congress to improve our circumstances, so it is encouraging to see comprehensive reform considered. I chose to retire early and no longer have group coverage. My High Deductable Plan’s premium increased last yr even though the payer had not processed a single claim or spent a dollar, other than to bill me. But if I’d had a catastrophic illness this large Blue will find a way to drop me soon after the initial acute episode. So I urge comprehensive, universal coverage.
    I am encouraged by this Can Do feeling and motivated to contribute to this change. As long as the likes of Tom Dashle can be recruited all the way down the line, maybe I can stay a sailing bum. I’m not sure I can reform healthcare AND race in Annapolis on Wed and Fri nights. I just hope we get someone as good and fresh thinking in Treasury or the stock market will force me back to work somewhere.

  33. The Federal Health Board, like the Federal Reserve Board, is absolutely the way to go. It would have 3 main functions: (1) determine what constitutes the minimum level of health care that everyone should have and how it should be financed (2) develop a standardized electronic medical record keeping system that would allow the sharing of medical histories among health care providers, (3) determine standard medical practices so that physicians who follow them could not be held liable for adverse outcomes.

  34. I agree that there is a lot more substance to Mr. Daschle’s comments than those of Ms. Pelosi. Of course, Mr. Daschle is no longer a member of the Senate and can, therefore, afford to me more forthright while Ms. Pelosi is Speaker of the House..
    The Federal Reserve Board model, intended to insure political independence, is a good one and the right approach, I think, especially for a Comparative Effectiveness Institute. One little known fact, or at least one that doesn’t receive much focus or press, about the Fed, however, is that it has its own funding source, and the Fed only needs about $300 million per year or thereabouts to operate. A Comparative Effectiveness Institute would most likely need a figure in the upper single digit billions of dollars per year, and perhaps more. Even if it is not possible or practical to provide such an institution with its own funding source(s), perhaps the enabling legislation could at least allow for a super majority vote of at least 60% and maybe as much as two-thirds to shrink its budget or narrow its mission once it is established.

  35. Actually, from a Democrat, this is a fairly impressive list. (Missing any reform in how health care is actually paid for, however). To see malpractice reform on here is really interesting. This is a lot more practical and constructive than either of the major Dem. candidates’ plans.

  36. What didnt he leave off the list? And all this without incremental change?
    Am I missing something here?
    These are groundbreaking words?
    Book forthcoming….I will wait for the DVD.

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