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Month: September 2009

Political Health Endgame: You Deserve Better Solutions

Political Health Endgame: You Deserve Better Solutions

Post-war Britain, and Londoners in particular, had suffered mightily after two years of punishing aerial bombardment.  The East End of London had been reduced to rubble.

Winston Churchill, arguably the greatest leader and politician of the 20th century, was turned out of office.  A new day dawned.  Anuerin Nye Bevin, a “firebrand” Socialist, was determined to remake the British health care system.  On July 5, 1948 he became the first Minister of Health.   Out of his uncompromising efforts was born the National Health System.  Bevin became known as the father of the NHS.  The pride and joy of Britain today.   Out of crisis comes opportunity.   And so it is today.   With crisis, opportunity comes aknocking.

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

The Law of Unintended Consequences

As I wrote many weeks ago, the health insurance industry will not lose this battle …  any more than the too-big-to-fail Banks have … all at immense public expense.

Max Baucus‘ political contributions from the health care and finance industry are well documented.  Now they have enlisted Tom Daschle and Bob Dole.   What a pair — Tweedle Dee and Tweddle Dum.   I have never understood what qualified Tom Daschle as a health care expert?   His ties to the industry?  A deposed ex-Senate Majority Leader?

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change the metaphor

change the metaphor

Joseph Campbell first offered this sage aphorism:

“If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.” – Joseph Campbell

The president subtly changed the metaphor this morning in a major financial address.  Instead of the phrase health care reform he used the phrase health insurance reform.  Ah , now we are framing the right debate. Was this metaphorical or strategic?

We have argued for months now that this is not about health care reform.  Want real health care reform — you change the paradigm.  Read Deepak Chopra’s OpEd this morning in SFGate. Then read all our past and future posts.  The advent of the 21st century is quickly evolving.  Old paradigms, companies, and entire industries are vanishing.

The current debate is about economic reform.  And economic reform is about insurance reform — catastrophic economic reform.

If health care is central and vital to the health and well-being of the nation, then health insurance should be regulated as a utility.   As if Dr. Howard Dean had been following our very advice, just yesterday on Meet the Press, he offered the same prescription:

There’s another way.  There’s two countries in Europe that have universal health care without–and it’s entirely run by insurance companies.  But they treat the insurance companies like regulated utilities.  If the insurance companies would prefer to be treated like regulated utilities, we’d drop the public option in a heartbeat.

— Howard Dean

This graphic from the morning’s news even better.  Shows that the administration may be serious about the fundamentals of a healthy economy first.

financial reform first
financial reform first
… Waiting for Merlin

… Waiting for Merlin

And now we wait for the speech of a lifetime.  The make or break — defining speech.  We wish this unreal set of expectations on no one.

Medicare for all?

Let me renew this debate with trilogy of  blogs over the next week.    First with a set of charts and diagrams laying the foundation for the daunting statistics that face us.

First consider this simple chart plotting the inexorable rise in yearly total health care expenditures from 1960 to 2016  (estimated).  There is barely a perceptible sag at about 1995 .   To imagine an external force (the government) having any measurable effect on this curve stretches the imagination.

National health care expenditures Statistical Abstract of the US
National health care expenditures Statistical Abstract of the US

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