Wavering Health Reform

As news of some disharmony in the efforts to reach consensus for health reform legislation sprayed out from Washington, I’ve been trying to find the words to explain what this means.   It’s always been clear that the “devil is in the details” and that when it came time to forge enough agreement to pass legislation, (as it did last week), there would be ups and downs as provisions are modified, dropped and added.

Beyond that simple description, it would take many, many words to explain how the process for achieving success in health reform legislation could work.  So instead, below are some pictures, that I hope will be worth thousands of words more than the brief comment below each one.

Roller Coaster

The process will continue to be have ups and downs – and unexpected loops – which may leave some people nauseated.

Roller Coast Again
Putting together successful legislation requires understanding the science of health, and the “physics” of how all the parts of the healthcare system and the political process interact. [Note how the pieces slow down and come closer together at the peaks, and then speed up and spread out in the valleys.]

Roller Coaster
And hopefully amidst all the ups and downs and loops, the final result of health reform will have a heart (and soul).

And lastly, not to forget the “Golden Rule,” below is a video that two other health bloggers (Matt Yglesias and Jonathan Cohn) linked to in their blogs to illustrate the importance of financing and the “golden rule” for making – or breaking – health reform.

And of course, in this case, the “Golden Rule” is….. “He (or She) who has the gold, rules.”

I’m going to be in DC this week to take the pulse of health reform. So stay tuned for the prognosis of success amidst all the twists and turns in the substance and process of health reform.

One thought on “Wavering Health Reform

  1. Introducing a public health plan needs to be removed from the current legislative bill. Were in a recession and the government needs to realize they would be spending money on something that will hurt the economy and destroy an industry. There have been too many quick unthought out and irrational decisions made by our government lately and it makes me wonder, do they want our economy to ever recover? There are far more important things this money can be used for and Washington needs slow down and focus on smart healthcare reform and getting it right the first time.

    The insurance industry is already getting hit hard by the recession. Too much to quick will bankrupt the insurance companies and ultimately there will be bigger problems than there is now. The government needs to give insurance companies a chance under the new reform rules and each company should be required to prove themselves while getting used to all the new industry changes. A public option should be a last resort and done only if the health industry doesn’t improve. Give the companies a chance first.

    There also needs to be a sugar, alcohol and an increase in the tobacco tax. Think of how many less people there will be with diabetics, heart disease, rotten teeth, etc. if sugar became less affordable. It’s time for the people to take control of their own lives. It’s not fair for the person who chooses not to smoke, not to drink alcohol or not to drink a two liter of Coke each day to be responsible for paying as much as the person who chooses these unhealthy habits. The government is so quick to change the companies, but what are they doing to regulate what those who choose unhealthy lifestyles and drive up the health cost of health insurance premiums for us all?

    As for the Exchange, it’s not needed. The administrative cost of the Exchange will be more than what agents get paid now. Government employees are more expensive because of all the benefits they receive from the government. Most agents are self employed and responsible 100% for their own benefits and retirement plans. Most people prefer having an agent help them apply and answer questions to eliminate errors. Why change something that already works. Most people prefer and already know what to expect with how things work now. If trying to reach someone at the Exchange is anything like trying to get someone on the phone at the Social Security or Medicare offices, we all can expect to wait on hold for at least 20 minutes before we finally get to speak with a live person. That’s 20 minutes of your or mine that is wasted.

    Finally, the amount the government pays a doctor needs to be the same as what an insurance companies pay for the same service. It needs to be mandated that all companies and the government should all be on the same pay schedule, including Medicare. Let’s be fair.

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