Health Care Reform : Our Christmas Eve Present


Congress’ health care reform
Promises huge returns for all

‘Their principal job is to reinforce the great ideas of yesterday while suppressing the great ideas of tomorrow.’ — Deepak Chopra on skeptics.

By Janet Gilles / The Rag Blog / December 29, 2009

[The Rag Blog has run numerous articles critical of Congress’ attempt at health care reform. Contributor Janet Gilles has a very different perspective.]

Few politicians have dared to question the health care system itself in this country. Yet, there are 99,000 easily preventable deaths a year from infections acquired in the hospital, according to the Center for Disease Control. The passage of health reform, the Christmas Eve gift to the American public, promises huge returns for everyone, even those with excellent health insurance. Because what good is good insurance when more people die from infections acquired in the hospital than from breast cancer and AIDS combined??

In most states, hospitals are not required to report these rates of infections, which is how they get away with it. New regulations in the health bill which require reporting of hospital acquired infections, will almost entirely eliminate this deadly threat.Other examples of how cost controls are going to result in a betterSystem of health care abound.

For the last decade or two, the costs of health care have skyrocketed. The Mayo Clinic has led the way, and numerous commissions have made simple recommendations to change the rules of the game, by comparing treatments to determine which are most effective. Due to their great promise of cutting costs, most of these measures have made it into the current law now so close to our grasp.

What has been needed has been a restructuring of incentives, a consistent theme in Obama’s health care reform agenda, and we are that close. Because of the power of the right, the new bill does not cover everyone, but Paul Krugman says it best. “Guys, this is a major program to aid lower and lower-middle-income families. How is that not a big progressive victory?”

Jonathan Chait explains why this legislation is the greatest social achievement of our time. Our health care system has been focused on finding the most expensive remedies; this new legislation will require an apples to apples comparison of treatments and end up changing the nature of health care. Change we can depend on.

The Rag Blog

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2 Responses to Health Care Reform : Our Christmas Eve Present

  1. Anonymous says:

    The current ‘health care/insurance reform’ re-arranges the deck chairs on a Titanic health care system. 10 years of funding for 7 years of benefit is a nonsensical joke, robbing Peter (Medicare) to pay Paul (when Peter has no money: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124212734686110365.html) is a travesty. Why isn’t Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare, Chip and the VA being swept into this ‘reform’? They deliver almost half the medical care in this country yet, these redundant government healthcare bureaucracies see little change (other than to steal $400b to balance the CBO books) in this ‘comprehensive’ reform – WHY? It’s a deal for the insurance industry, unions and for Democrats who figure they’ll get 30 million new ‘robot’ voters with their “historic” reform.

    ‘Bending the cost curve’ is little more than a deceptive slogan. The proposed legislation is short on actual cost reduction – and the few things that do reduce costs, don’t require a 2,000+ page law. Ask Lloyd Doggett what mechanisms exist in the legislation to significantly cut costs and to explain how they work – good luck with that one (he may respond with fraud elimination – duh). The obvious elimination of Medicaid/Medicare fraud could fund healthcare for many of the truly uninsured (not ‘invincible’ 24 yr. olds who see no benefit in paying for insurance and non-citizens). From the Physician who justifies his abuses by complaining the fee schedule is unfair, to the organized criminals who work their fraud schemes an EFFICIENT government could reign in these abuses – they haven’t for decades. Does anyone actually believe a 2,000 page piece of legislation is going to magically fix the bureaucracy that has wasted money for most of our lifetimes. Proven cost reducers like tort reform and open markets for insurers to expand competition, are nowhere to be found in the proposed legislation – don’t you wonder why? Hey, but the unions and trial lawyers get a sweet deal.

    THIS PACK OF LIES, THAT WAS NEVER “DEBATED AND CRAFTED IN THE OPEN I.E. C-SPAN” AS OBAMA PROMISED ISN’T A PRESENT, IT’S A ONE SIDED, BACK ROOM DEALING, POLITICAL POWER PLAY THAT, UNLESS YOU’RE ON WELFARE IS GOING TO INCREASE YOUR COSTS AND RESTRICT YOUR ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE.

    Read it for yourself – there’s been lots of discussion, but little specifics: http://docs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf

    And if you are concerned about where the money is going to come from, consider this: http://www.usdebtclock.org/

  2. Anonymous says:

    I rarely find myself agreeing with you Janet-but this time, thanks for a positive analysis – negativism is self-fulfilling
    and Lord knows we can use use some renewed optimism.

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