Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Prescription for Pennsylvania"

The title of this blog is Governor Ed Rendell's long awaited Health Care Reform Plan for Pennsylvania (this bloggers home state) that he unveiled today in a noontime speech.

Not unlike his counterpart Governor on the other coast, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger from California, Gov Rendell offers up an Rx that is a potpourri of initiatives,incentives and assessments(taxes?) to try to address what Rendell correctly states is a situation where "no longer is it a question of whether we can afford to act. The cost of inaction is far greater in terms of individual health consequences and from the increasing burden on taxpayers"

Like Mr. Schwarzenegger's Golden State plan this Keystone state plan will include sacrifices for all- and hopefully benefits for all underinsured and uninsured Pennsylvanians.

Among the positive aspects of the Rendell plan are:

- CAP=Cover all Pennsylvanians- a complicated set of initiatives through the private insurance system to ensure that all Pennsylvanians ultimately have health insurance- But when this blogger asks is ultimately? And thumbs down from me on working the benefits through mostly employers and the private insurance industry.

- Increasing access by enabling nurses, nurse practitioners,midwives,physician assistants and other non-physician health practitioners to practice to to the fullest extent of their training and skills. Even working weekends and nights is incentivized- Good for you Mr. Governor- That took courage! (hopefully you won't need to see a Doctor soon?)

- Improving quality of care with emphasis on patient safety initiatives and chronic disease management programs- GREAT! and long overdue!

- Rewarding wellness programs to reduce paying for avoidable medical services. "The health care costs related to tobacco and adult obesity in Pennsylvania totaled more than $9 Billion says Rendell an enormous economic burden" You got my vote their Mr. Governor- Out go the cheesesteaks

- Keeping Pennsylvanias, especially the poor and uninsured, out of the emergency room- a very expensive way to deliver health care. "Pennsylvanians statistically are more likely than the average American to go to the emergency room" for care. I'm for that one too Mr Governor.

My consternation with the plan is that it is too complex and will take too much time to implement. Several components of the plan will require legislative and federal approval.

Also, in the end. I believe Mr. Rendell "wimped" out on us (and missed his own opportunity) as a leading, hopefully progressive Democrat, by not endorsing Universal Single Payer Health Care for all Pennsylvanians and by example the rest of the nation.

You are definitely correct Mr. Governor- Government cannot and should not solve all the state's problems. But Government, at all levels, needs to engage health care. The business model(US penchant for "the free market solves all problems") applied to health care has been an abysmal failure rendering the US Health Care system an embarrassment in the international community.

Human beings and human flesh are not commodities. It's time we recognize that.

For more on the Rendell Rx visit Governor's Office of HealthCare Reform

Dr. Rick Lippin


Blogger stoney13 said...

It falls far short of what's needed, but at least it's a starting point. Now let's see what can be built on this cornerstone that Pensyvania has laid!

Something else that REALLY needs to happen nationwide is the Emergency Room Doctors need shorter hours and lighter workloads! That goes for interns as well! How can you expect doctors to save lives when they are chained to an Emergency ward for twenty hours at a time with hardly a break! It's against the law for prisoners to get that kind of treatment, yet Doctors seem to be left out of the loop!

Oh yea! I'm not a real doctor...and I never played one on TV!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Blake said...

Stoney- Thanks-Of course Docs/Nurses etc in ERs and elsewhere need to have decent working conditions and hours.

Medicine needs to "heal from within"

But a post on AlterNet on Tues (Medicare for All) on a much more comprehensive approach was on target.

Stoney- you may not be a doctor -but you sure are a healer :)

Dr. Rick Lippin

3:49 PM  

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