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Some Health Care Straight Talk



August 28, 2009 – Comments (3)

Stepping outside my bounds a little bit here, but I though this month's cover story in The Atlantic by David Goldhill on health care is worth a read: How American Health Care Killed My Father.

Some significant issues he brings up are: resitance to innovation in the industry, the lack of cost transparency, the overuse of insurance for predictable, regular costs, and the focus on health insurance as health care without regard for things like exercise and nutrition. Recommended reading, and I'm interested in reading thoughts on the article in the comments.

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 28, 2009 at 4:31 PM, RonChapmanJr (29.77) wrote:

Very good article. 

In healthcare I think we have a problem that can not be solved.  I only see two options to fix the system.

1.  We start rationing care significantly. 

2.  A larger and larger portion of GDP goes toward healthcare indefinitely. 

Neither of these options are acceptable to a large enough number of people for real progress to ever be made. 


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#2) On August 28, 2009 at 4:41 PM, randomvariable (35.82) wrote:

Health care is already rationed, we just can't decide how best to ration it, and it's a really hard problem.  The current system of reimbursement has the government (through CMS) more or less setting the reimbursement rates for the insurance industry.  But the incentives are on providing care, not results, which can lead to unnecessary costs.

The problem is that attempting to align reimbursement with results is tricky.  You can imagine ways to cut medical corners to cheaply make someone healthy tomorrow, at the cost of future health.

Still there's got to be some way to do better than we're doing now.  We outspend Canada, France, and the UK 2:1 on per capita health care, yet we don't cover everyone.  I don't envy those who have to make this decision.

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#3) On August 28, 2009 at 4:44 PM, starbucks4ever (89.25) wrote:

There is a third option: let the HMO industry drop dead, and have everyone covered at half the price. But that of course would require a prez who's not in bed with HMOs.

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