Quote of the Day Category

Richard Gottfried points out an extremely important distinction between the nature of coverage decisions in public health care financing systems, and in private insurance financing systems, whether employer-sponsored or individual coverage.

This CMS decision to not pay for computed tomography colonography (CTC or “virtual colonoscopy”) when used as a screening test for colorectal cancer has already caused considerable controversy even before the final public comment period has closed. Before we start deciding who is right and who is wrong, we should look at the issues. (What? Make decisions based on facts!?)

Himmelstein responds to Gawande on single payer

In: Quote of the Day

The problem is that Atul Gawande is flat out wrong. He implies that other nations merely made adjustments in their existing systems to expand coverage to everyone. In fact, these were not simple adjustments to systems that weren’t working; they were revolutionary transformations of their health care financing systems.

Most of the leading proposals for health financing reform include magical (sleight-of-hand) concepts that purportedly would reduce health care costs. One of these is disease management, or chronic care coordination, or whatever label you want to give it.

In his testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf discussed considerations for expanding coverage, and considerations and options for controlling costs and improving efficiency, including a discussion of options under consideration that might not be effective in controlling spending. Most of his comments were confined to various policies that currently are hot topics in the Washington dialogue on reform.

Though not quite so graphic, free market private health insurance is not unlike the rescue purchased by this unfortunate lady. Just as she purchased a contract to avoid hitting the ground when she jumped from this burning building, private health insurance is purchased to prevent financial hardship or bankruptcy in the face of medical need. It doesn’t always work.

Insurance failing cancer patients

In: Quote of the Day

An excellent test of how well our insurance system is working is to determine how well it serves those individuals who have the tragic misfortune of developing cancer. This report shows that all too often the insurance system fails to protect cancer patients from the additional burden of financial hardship, defeating one of the most important reasons for having health insurance in the first place.

Well, we are there now. The progressive community had decided that the political barriers that have prevented reform over the past century must be brought down. A solution that would appease the conservative community must leave in place a private market of financing options. The progressives have agreed, and have asked only for one more option – a plan administered by the government.

Baucus and Reinhardt on single payer

In: Quote of the Day

So with Tom Daschle stepping out of the picture, Sen. Max Baucus is maneuvering to take the lead on reform by advocating for a “uniquely American result” with “more of an entrepreneurial sense” since “we’re constituted differently than European countries.”

Jacob Hacker is a nice guy, but…

In: Quote of the Day

In [Hacker’s] proposal he was looking for a political solution to satisfy those with good employer-sponsored plans who are uncomfortable with trading them in for a public plan that has not yet been precisely defined (since any proposed public plan must clear the hurdles in Congress). In so doing he compromised on policy, trading away many of the advantages of the single payer model.

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