Quote of the Day Category

Single payer – over on the side table

In: Quote of the Day

The good news is that individuals from the media and from the policy community are acknowledging, on the side, that single payer would cover everyone, would improve health outcomes, and would cost less than the other current proposals for reform. Today’s quotes are only a few examples of a multitude of such comments. Single payer has not been removed from the national dialogue on reform.

Those supporting the leading Democratic model for reform frequently cite the Massachusetts plan as an example of how building on our current system of health care financing is the best path to success. Unfortunately, they use selected positive numbers to define success, while ignoring the fact that Massachusetts has failed in its efforts to achieve the real goals of reform. You can understand how pathological the politics of reform has become when they have to dig into the data of a failed reform effort in order to redefine failure as a success.

"Divided We Fail" is divided and failing

In: Quote of the Day

“Divided We Fail” presented itself as a broad coalition of diverse interests that could come together and agree on health care reform. But it isn’t a broad coalition. It is a coalition that primarily represents business interests – big business through the Business Roundtable, and small business through the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

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.

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Physicians for a National Health Program's blog serves to facilitate communication among physicians and the public. The views presented on this blog are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of PNHP.

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