The Health Care Debate

Peter Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote a piece in yesterday’s WSJ where he talks why the White House is making health-care reform a priority. Here are a few excerpts:

From WSJ: This week confirmed two important facts — that health-care costs are the key to our fiscal future, and that even doctors and hospitals agree that substantial efficiency improvements are possible in how medicine is practiced.

If we can move our nation toward the proven and successful practices adopted by lower-cost areas and hospitals, some economists believe health-care costs could be reduced by 30% — or about $700 billion a year — without compromising the quality of care.

This may all seem academic, but this week a stunning thing happened: Representatives from some of the most important parts of the health-care sector — doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, insurers and medical-device manufacturers — confirmed that major efficiency improvements in health-care are possible. They met with the president and pledged to take aggressive steps to cut the currently projected growth rate of national health-care spending by an average of 1.5 percentage points in each of the next 10 years. By making this pledge, the providers and insurers made clear that they agreed the system could remove significant costs without harming quality.

To transform our health-care system….we need to undertake comprehensive health-care reform…Once we do, we will put the nation on a sustainable fiscal path and build a new foundation for our economy for generations to come.

emphasis added

The New York Times apparently disagrees with Orszag’s assumption.

Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending.

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1 Comment on The Health Care Debate

  1. While I cannot speak eloquently on all matters at issue, it seems to me that we are all in danger of mistaking the difference between health-“care” and health-“coverage.”

    They can never be thought the same thing! We have all heard of the unacceptable behavior of the hmo’s denial of “care” to those who they “covered!”

    No amount of anecdotal cases of failings in the British national health service or the Canadian system can compete with the failure of the “for profit health-‘coverage’ insurance system” that has been feeding on US Americans since at lest, the Nixon administration.

    One last point:

    “You work for the one that pays you!”
    The insurance companies and HMOs have driven a wedge between the patient and the Doctors, because the patient is not the real customer- the insurer is and they are the one’s the Doctor works for, not to mention the paharmaceutical companies who market their chemicals to unwary consumers as blatantly as is candy to children; the ads even offer a “list of Drs. in your area,” who will prescribe the drug you want.

    Don’t let Congress get away with “providing afford-able coverage, instead of actual Health Care by people who are not beholden to Insurance money or HMOs.

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