About a month or so ago, the Washington Post launched their new Health Care Rx blog, and I was asked to participate as a panelist. Every Monday, questions are sent out, and a variety of “ experts ” from across the health care industry respond. It provides a great snapshot of the many different perspectives that exist. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
This week’s question:
The Blue Dog Coalition worries the health bill in the House does not address fundamental cost drivers in the system. Is it possible to rein in costs in the current system? How?
The political debate is often framed around covering the uninsured. At the heart of this is the supposition that health care is a moral obligation -- that everyone has a "right" to it. But it's difficult to separate the moral from the economic because there is no other "liberty" that requires payment.
The "big red wire" that needs to be clipped first is the fee-for-service payment system driven by the government today through Medicare reimbursement decisions. Until that's addressed, the ticking bomb won't be stopped.