POLITICS: Whisper it quietly…

But some on the left are begging to realize that health reform, post an assumed 2008 Democratic victory, is still a very, very big assumption. On liberal blog Daily Kos, DemfromCT uses the recent polling data from Bob Blendon’s group at Harvard MollyAnn Brodie’s team at KFF and an editorial from Columbia’s veteran health policy prof Larry Brown in the NEJM to help his colleagues understand why health reform is so hard. Of course you sensible folk already know.

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6 replies »

  1. “My concern is that there are two parts to health care reform. The first is accessibility for all U.S. citizens and the other is restructuring how care is delivered.”
    Sam, I’m afraid the “first” will have to be reform of our votes-for-dollars political system. Barry outlines the hurdles the system has created for any reform of any kind. Voters vote for ideology and that “gut feel”, lobbyists determine what the actual legislation will be – if any.

  2. I understand the need for pragmatism but not the requisite of yielding ground to those who are the agents of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries- doctors and hospitals.

  3. Two other important points to bear in mind are: (1) it only takes 41 votes to block legislation in the Senate and (2) Democrats, like Republicans are not shy about accepting political campaign contributions from the whole array of healthcare industry lobbyists including those representing hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, drug and device manufacturers and a host of others.
    Bottom line: reform will be tough to achieve and will probably have to be bipartisan. Even LBJ, with overwhelming majorities in both the House and the Senate, basically had to give the store away to doctors and hospitals in order to pass Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

  4. My concern is that there are two parts to health care reform. The first is accessibility for all U.S. citizens and the other is restructuring how care is delivered. The first, whether universal (govt run) or a hybrid will NOT change the fact that U.S. medicine is still specialty focused rather than primary care directed. Financing does not change the arrogance of a medical system that is NOT consumer focused. (Alternative medicine is so successful, amongst other reasons, because it is so consumer centric.) When and how do we address the problem of physicians brain washed by medical schools which in turn are pharmaceutical company dependent which have proven fertile traning grounds for teaching docs a disease oriented model that can only be “resolved” by prescription drug use.)

  5. The challenge in enacting meaningful health care reform is playing out in California today (http://alankatz.wordpress.com/2008/01/24/senate-health-committee-hearing-on-abx1-1-roundup/). What our state experience shows is that waiting until the end of the process to thoroughly vet the bill may be too late. If the issues being aired today had been publicly debated six months ago, I have no doubt that the Governor and legislative leaders could have worked things through. As is it, their comprehensive health care reform plan is likely to die in committee tomorrow (January 28th). Maybe they can pull a rabbit out of their hat, but it’s unlikely.

  6. Pardon, but does this brief post have an author? In any case, thanks for the read and the link.
    I do anticipate a discussion post 11/08, and an educated readership is better off in understanding the debate, which hopefully will occur not just after but before the election.
    Appreciate efforts here for same.