Friday, January 12, 2007

Two Heavyweight Thinkers on Health Care Weigh In

I told you I would be keeping an eye on California knowing that the "new" Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would be announcing his health care plan for The Golden State last Tuesday.

Well, rather than doing my own analysis with the exception of one of my persistent drumbeats, below I refer you to two serious intelligent essays on the California plan

Interestingly both writers come to fairly similar conclusions about lukewarm (it's a start) support of the plan

The first is an excellent blog by Kevin Drum writer of Washington Monthly's-"Political Animal"- posted on Wednesday January 10 under the title Community Rating.

The second piece is New York Times Senior Columnist Paul Krugman's piece in the New York Time today entitled Golden State Gamble.
If you go to the Times today you will be able to read the Editorial without forking over any of your hard earned dollars. But after today you'll need to pay an annual fee for the NY Times Editorials (in my opinion it's worth it!-especially Dowd!)

Anyway my drumbeat referenced above is about the importance of prevention and health promotion which the California plan did not adequately address-Too politically dangerous but ultimately an economic imperative.

So once again I refere you to

A treatment based "disease care" system (vs. "health care") is simply not economically sustainable.

Dr. Rick Lippin


Blogger Cervantes said...

Yes, the Schwarzenegger proposal is fairly similar to what we're (supposedly) doing in Massachusetts. These may or may not turn out to be progress -- there's a lot to worry about -- but in the end, the states cannot make the fundamental changes that are necessary, because they are operating in a national market. Neither the California nor the Mass. reform plans have any effective way of containing costs and achieving a more rational allocation of resources, as you suggest. They just pump more money into the system, without really changing it.

There is a redistributive effect, with the substantial subsidies given to low and moderate income people, which is nice. On the other hand it does force people to spend money on health insurance that they might have had other plans for, like higher education or home ownership. That protects the hospitals (and to some extent the public) against uncompensated care, and maybe it will mean more scrips for thiazides and more mammograms, but basically, this leaves the system fragmented, with perverse incentives and misallocation of resources, and it does nothing about those problems.

We need universal, comprehensive, single payer national health care. Nothing less will do.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...

Cervantes- You are correct but the states are "testbeds" and the Feds have a "few other things" on their plate like -most notably the war and the pervasive culture of congresional corruption.

I'm still waiting for a Fed Senator or Representative or Progrssive Governor to really get out their and call for universal, single payor Health Care. Former Gov Dr. John Kizthaber comes closest.

Educate me on that. Where are our announced and unannounced 08 Presidential candidates on universal single payer Health Care?


Dr. Rick Lippin

10:57 AM  
Blogger Cervantes said...

Dunno, I expect most of them are dodging the question so far. Kucinich, of course, is for it, but he'll be president when Dick Cheney joins the International league for Peace and Freedom. I have a vague impression that Vilsack is pretty good on this.

We already know what Hillary wanted to do in 1992. Whether she has gotten any wiser since then, I don't know. Obama? Not a clue. Dodd? Don't know either. I'll try to find out.

We can forget about the Republicans, of course.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...

thanks Cervantes- Merrill Goozner has some promising news on gooznews -especially Jan 11 piece entitled Health Care for America- The Hacker Plan


Rick Lippin

1:01 PM  

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