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Health Care Crisis Has No Easy Solution

Posted Sep 12 2008 3:35am
Two blog posts today are realistic about the difficulties in America's health insurance crisis.

Colorado Health Insurance Insider points to unrealistic expectations:
It’s frustrating to hear so many people complain about the current system, and yet still be so resistant to dramatic change in the status quo. There is no easy way out here. It seems like people are waiting for Santa Claus. That somehow we’re going to be able to set up a system where everyone is covered by ultra-comprehensive private health insurance, with lots of options for carriers, and no government monitoring or intervention (Big Brother = Bad). That we’ll continue paying the taxes we already pay, but not the high-dollar health insurance premiums. That pre-existing conditions will all be covered, and we’ll all have a choice of whatever doctors and hospitals we want to use. That is not going to happen. [...]

Some [ideas] call for universal single-payer coverage for all citizens, others call for mandatory private insurance for everyone, and many options propose a combination of private and government-sponsored coverage. But none of them are free. However we fix it, we’ll have to pay for it. As long as med school costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, doctors are not going to start working for $20/hour. Cutting-edge research and development in medicine is not cheap. If we’re going to provide access to health care for everyone, the money will have to come from somewhere.
The Health Care Blog pins our hopes on the non-health care businesses of America getting together and keeping the special interests and partisanship out of it. This post explains

Reform is a complicated topic, particularly because the discussion tends to be so narrowly defined around its objectives: access, quality and cost. But an equally important issue is that American health care is fundamentally about power and money. Achieving reform requires a real understanding of the power dynamics involved.
I'm not sure that keeping powerful special interests at bay will work, just because money rarely sits idely by while others talk about controlling its destiny. But one thing I would hasten to underline is that the health care system does not work for the humble office-based physician these days. They are important stakeholders and the key to keeping costs down, but are not well-represented at the table. The relationships that take years to build between primary physicians and patients are not commodities, but rather, the source of trust which has drained out of the health care system.
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