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Palin’s health care sense on target

Alaska’s Sarah Palin, who is running for vice president with Sen. John McCain, has better health care policy sense than Sen. Barack Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden.

Palin has pushed for less regulation of health care providers and more competition, while Obama and Biden are pushing for socialized medicine and ultimately a single-payer plan patterned after the failed systems in Canada and the U.K.

Her approach, which is described here by the Washington Post, is supported by many physicians and advocates of a pro-competition approach to health care and health insurance market reforms, and it will be opposed by executives and employees of entrenched hospitals and local health care monopolies and ologopolies who don’t want to lose business to independent clinics and specialty hospitals.

At Modern Healthcare, where I was editor for 10 years and at Health
Care Strategic Management, which I owned and edited for almost 19
years, I wrote editorials against certificates of need, which are used
by entrenched hospitals to keep entrepreneurs, including members of
their medical staffs, from entering their markets.

While clinics and specialty hospitals cherry pick profitable
business from hospitals, that’s a good thing, not a bad one as hospital
executives would have you believe. More competition gives patients
better quality and more convenient services. Whether increased
competition lowers or raises prices isn’t the point as long as
employers and other third-party payers pay most of the cost, making
patients price insensitive.

Take employers and other third parties out of the markets, and increased provider competition would drop prices substantially.

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TerriHerbalEddyGary LEd P. Recent comment authors
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Terri
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Terri

Was this author really an editor? You should go back to grammar school.

Herbal
Guest

I don’t know if saying the Republican party doesn’t care about the issue is fully correct…but at the same time, I can kinda see the angle you are coming from also.

Eddy
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Eddy

That last post should read “the Republican party really DOESN’T CARE about the issue but is just making up rhetoric since the issue has been forced.

Eddy
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Eddy

I’m a staunch social conservative who has only voted Republican in my 39 years. With that said, I think McCain/Palin’s health care is a pipe dream. I also don’t think the Republican party really cares about the issue but is just making up rhetoric since the issue has been forced. On what grounds do you classify the health systems of Canada and the U.K. as failures and the U.S. a success? Because rich people can get the best care in the world in the U.S.? That’s great, but it leaves out the rest of us, in particular the self employed,… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Good one Gary. What everyone should remember is that when the tax payer has absorbed all the bad loans from Fanny & Freddie and spent billions “stabilizing” the market, these companies will be sold at fire sale prices back to the private sector. The argument of course will be that the private market is best able to manage these companies efficiently. HA!!

Gary L
Guest

Speaking of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, see my blog regarding a ‘hypothetical fantasy scenario”

Ed P.
Guest

Our current market-based insurance system is, by definition, more focused on maximizing profit that taking care of the patient. This is why they work so hard to deny benefits, even after years of accepting our premium payments. Since insurance is about spreading the risk, a REAL patient oriented insurance system would cover everyone, and simply require everyone to pay an equal portion of the total bill. Such a system could only be administered by government.

Dean S.
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Dean S.

Some comments about Sara Palin that make me doubt that sehe has ever really thought as deeply abouut health care. “..how is she at actually governing? Here’s Anchorage Daily News reporter Gregg Erickson: It is clear that she has not paid much attention to the nitty-gritty unglamorous work of government, of gaining consensus, and making difficult compromises. She seems to be of the view that politics should be all rather simple….The Republican chair of the Alaska State House Finance budget subcommittee on Heath and Medicaid says he can’t find anyone in Palin’s executive office who cares about helping bring that… Read more »

Dean S.
Guest
Dean S.

What’s next, equal time for the proponents of the flat earth theory? There is little uncertainty over the fact that the US health care is infected with greed and self-interest at every level, and that market-based solutions have not contributed to better care for all of our nation’s citizens but have instead produced the most unequal, wasteful and inefficient health care system in the world. Why are we even debating this?

David Ellis
Guest

Mr. Johnson, where is the failure in covering all of one’s people, not just the rich? Where is the failure in countries whose citizens have longer lifespans than Americans? Where is the failure in lower rates of infant mortality? And where is the success in a United States that ranks among the LEAST SUCCESSFUL countries in the world on just about any measure of public health you care to name?
Your position would be laughable, Sir, were it not so callous and immoral.

Tom Donald
Guest

@Ben Toth: Extremely well said.
@many: Can we please stop calling public health systems ‘socialized medicine’? These Red Menace scare tactics are long past their due date.

Mitch Mitchell
Guest

I have to say that I totally disagree with this premise of competition bringing better health care, let alone reducing costs. It’s already been proven in cities with multiple hospitals that when each facility tries to top the other by adding the same services, someone’s not going to survive, and the insurance companies won’t even try to support more than one specialty in the area, especially the Blues. Whereas I don’t totally support the idea of socialized medicine (I recognize major issues with it for the U.S.), I will say that America needs to find more cost effective ways to… Read more »

Peter
Guest
Peter

“Dow up 290 on Fannie, Freddie takeovers
Investors cheer the Treasury Department’s plan to take control of the battered mortgage companies.”
Wow! Imagine Wall Street cheering a government takeover – I wonder why. How does this fit with McCain/Palin (or is it Palin/McCain) less government platform? Get that nasty government out of our lives.

MG
Guest
MG

Ugh. This is the problem with idealogue like Palin. They stick with a solution that in theory sounds good yet in practical application fails miserably because anyone with any inkling of knowledge knows that just increasing excess supply (e.g., beds) in health care always drive up utilization which in turns radically increases prices. If Palin was serious about bringing in “competition” in healthcare on the provider-side, she would advocate giving the FTC real power to bust up anti-monopolist provider mergers in local markets which have really only helped drive up prices or refusing to kow-tow to physician organizations that requires… Read more »

jd
Guest
jd

Writing too quickly again.
I should have said, “CONs may be used to prevent adding to the capacity…”
By the way, as a grammatical matter it seems wrong to give the plural of CON as CONs. Anyone know of an alternative, other than writing it out?