Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pennsylvania's Fundamental HealthCare Reform Problem

Almost lame duck Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will be announcing his Health Care Reform plan for the Keystone State's approximately 12 million residents this week. I'll be watching carefully as a Pennsylvanian and a HealthCare Crisis blogger

Unlike other Governor's Mr.Rendell has a special problem. It turns out that Pennsylvania has probably the largest concentration of Health Care and related Industries in the US maybe second only to the New England region?

So once Mr.Rendell announces his plan(s) I'll be providing my comments on it.

But the cheesesteak eating-sports loving- affable Governor- former effective Mayor of Philadelphia (1991-1999) and Chair of the Democratic National Committee=DNC (1999-"Go Al Gore") see Wikipedia has the classical problem of one industry's profits (health care) are another industry's costs.

For more details on exactly how concentrated the Health Care Sector is in and around Philadelphia for example The New England HealthCare Institute, in partnership with the prestigious Milken Institute, published a January 04 report entitled On the Critical List: Health Care Job Vitality in New England-Addendum to The Economic Contributions of the Health Care Industry to the New England Region.An entire section 11 was devoted to A Case Study: The Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Story.

Just one example-Perhaps the most important structural factor in Pennsylvania's "advantage" is its remarkably strong pharmaceutical cluster says the above report. As private funding plays an increasingly important role in the health care industry, Philadelphia's proximity to pharmaceutical company headquarters and research laboratories is a significant advantage in the search for new sources of job growth.Primary U.S. operations and/or major research and manufacturing facilities for most of the world's top 10 pharmaceutical companies ranked according to sales are located in the greater Philadelphia area. Companies with a major presence near Philadelphia include Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Roche, and Wyeth. While many of these companies have operations in New England, particularly specialized research laboratories, the vast majority of their expenditures remain in the greater Philadelphia area.

However other industries in Pennsylvania are "crying uncle" as health care costs -especially drugs- have dramatically soared over the past decade in particular!

What is Governor Rendell to do? Can he pull the rabbit out of the hat? I regret to say I doubt it. Out of sheer destiny of geography Ed Rendell and the citizens of Pennsylvania are right smack in the middle of an economic meltdown of a treatment based "disease" care system which is economically unsustainable.

To Rendell's credit he trying other sectors like renewable energy and of course tourism, but it may be too little too late for the citizens of Pennsylvania. Installing or tilting at windmills is not going to solve Pennsylvania's Health Care dilemma.

More to come on the Rendell plan this week

Dr. Rick Lippin


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