We haven’t heard from our favorite orthopedic surgeon in a while but Eric Novack is back to change the world…or at least express his annoyance at some people in it! I suspect that we’ll be hearing lots of arguments like this in years to come!
The initiative that SEIU aims to get on the ballot this November to amend the Michigan Constitution:
Michigan Health Care Security Ballot Campaign – ‘Health Care That’s Always There’
The State Legislature shall pass laws to make sure that every Michigan resident has affordable and comprehensive health care coverage through a fair and cost-effective financing system. The Legislature is required to pass a plan that, through public or private measures, controls health care costs and provides for medically necessary preventive, primary, acute and chronic health care needs.
Will it pass? Should it pass? Who wins? Who loses?
Unnamed senior officials at CMS confidentially report that serious bipartisan discussions are ongoing to help get the Health IT bill completed.
“Electronic medical records and e-prescribing, if mandated throughout the country, would save thousands of American lives each year”, one CMS official stated.
A senior Democrat house staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the leadership thinks that the current situation, where dozens of private companies are aggressively competing against one another to get a foothold in the world of health IT, is counterproductive, wasteful, and costing lives.
“Venture capital and the drive for profits is a distraction that this country, with 47 million uninsured, can simply not afford.”
Proposals apparently under consideration include banning advertising of health IT to doctors, licensing requirements for anyone involved in the sale or promotion of health IT products, and a special ‘health IT tax’ on health IT companies which would allow the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) to distribute funds to areas of the country that lack a health IT infrastructure.
Calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for comment have not been returned.
According to an article in the Sunday,November 18th, 2007, Boston Globe, “(Massachusetts) the state could face a funding gap as large as $147 million by the end of the fiscal year, according to a state projection.”
2009 looks worse: … “Since insurers who participate in the subsidized program are expected to ask for significantly higher payments from the state”.But, government regulators are keeping up appearances: "It’s too early to make any departure from the health reform plan," said Leslie Kirwan, secretary of administration and finance and chairwoman of theCommonwealth Health Insurance Connector.”
“"It’s a good problem to have – people are getting insured and hopefully getting care," state Senator Richard T. Moore told the newspaper.
I am frankly a bit surprised at the lack of comment at THCB on the recent orthopedic device
manufacturers’ settlement with the government for concerns about illegal payments to physicians. I would have expected Matthew or Maggie, at least, to be sounding the alarm over the dangers of the private sector in healthcare. The most interesting byproduct of the settlement is the development of a public database where you can search by company to see who is getting the ‘big bucks’.
But like many simple statistics, the data can be misleading.
Let me be clear—paying a surgeon for ‘work’ with the real expectation that he or she will use a specific product is unethical, not to mention illegal (but a problem inherent in our 3rd party paymentsystem in medicine, but that is another issue entirely…).
One Phoenix area surgeon has been paid $3 million this year by Stryker.
‘Outrageous’, you say. “Ah- ha—see, all doctors are corrupt and need to be controlled”, others exclaim. But what are the facts? In this case, the surgeon helped develop some of the early hip and knee replacement designs… These designs have served as the basis for literally millions of replaced joints over the last 20 years. He owns a piece of the patent.Is it immoral to get paid for people using a product you work hard to develop? Should Google’s founders still benefit? How about those who own patents on everything vacuum cleaners to hair care products?
Of course they should– because our society encourages innovation by protecting the value of innovation.
crazy schedule as he builds his Health 2.0 empire, a brief note on the
resounding defeat of the Oregon initiative with tobacco tax money. What this means for the debate in Washington is uncertain. Pundits on the left and right seem to think that it will have little effect on the SCHIP debate—few, if any, democrats or republicans will likely
change course. But you cannot argue with this — from youtube:
On October 18th, the US House of Representatives will try to override the President’s veto of a greatly expanded State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). As is so often the case, political rhetoric serves as a fog that obscures what the SCHIP legislation really is and who is most affected.
The Democrats believe that they win by losing. Republicans shout “socialized medicine”.
But the Democrats went even lower this past week by bringing out a 12 year old boy and his family to be the ‘poster child’ for SCHIP expansion.
A tiny step, but what if more of healthcare was freed from excessive
regulation? Of course, this is being done purely because the Medicare
Part D program is driving small pharmacies out of existence …
For those who remember the endless headlines of "50% of All
Bankruptcies Due to Medical Debt", and particularly for those who have
based many calls for national, single-payer health care, on that paper
by Single-payer zealot David Himmelstein, here is a must read. Law
professor Todd Zywicki, testifying at the US House of Representatives
Judiciary Committee, this week. The link to the testimony is a downloadable word file… all 21 pages are worth reading.
Here is a fundamental problem with the debate that Matthew is having with Amy Ridenour and David Hogberg: Matthew (and single payer advocates generally) focuses his attacks on the general ‘injustice’ that might exist in the healthcare system. In the face of such injustice, the theory goes, the government must step in to ‘even out’ the system (another way of saying that the ‘risk pool’ for unhappiness ought to be as big as possible—or, put another way, misery loves company).
“Free marketeers” (presumably an effort on Matthew’s part to turn those who believe that less government intervention actually is good for economies—for which the evidence is incontrovertible—into a pejorative) are generally no more happy with the current system than ‘healthcare-by-lobbyist’ activists (my own pejorative for bureaucrat run healthcare). However, people who believe in markets want to introduce free market reforms, recognizing that this process must be incremental.
Put another way—single-payer advocates speak in broad generalities of fairness and justice and risk pools—which sounds great to the public, but is short on actual policy implementation. Limited government advocates have, thus far, been focused on actual concrete steps to improve the system.
The many commenters and contributors
to THCB who have been touting the VA as the pinnacle of US health care—and
basing their conclusion that what we need is not ‘Medicare for All’,
but rather ‘VA Care for All’—have some explaining to do.
In this article, which reports the McClatchy
News Service’s investigation into the claims of the VA—the real
truth is not so rosy.
UPDATE: (5.11.07) Ed comments: McClatchy’s Washington bureau has set up a blog where you’ll find more detail on this story as well as related pieces on the military healthcare system.