Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Debate Over Benefits of Healthcare Reform Continues At AHA Meeting

The American Hospital Association's Annual Meeting, which is one of the most prominent gatherings of healthcare leaders in the country, was recently held in Washington, D. C. It was an opportunity for politicians and members of the Obama administration to address healthcare movers and shakers about their take on the new reform bill. It promised to provide strongly differing opinions and did not disappoint.

First up was HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who emphasized that we need to focus on value over volume like we have in the past. To achieve this we need to provide real patient centered care. She stated that a government oversight role is key to getting this done, and compared it to umpiring a baseball game. This is probably a good comparison because most healthcare providers like government oversight about as much as a batter likes being called out on strikes from an outside pitch.

To no one's surprise, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed support for the new legislation. She stated that this is a giant leap forward in access and affordability in healthcare. "People can be more entrepreneurial" she said. "They can take risks. It's about a healthier economy." I'm not sure who's economy she is talking about, but the one in this country is far from healthy, and I'm not sure how this legislation will fix that. As I have stated in previous posts, it looks like the increased access of the new legislation will add more costs than the savings that are projected.

From point to counter-point, Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, did at least agree that we need to focus on value and not volume. But that is were the agreement with the Obama plan ended. He feels strongly that the new legislation will make our economy worse, do little for accessibility and nothing for tort reform. I certainly agree with him on the last point. I have frequently commented on the cost of defensive medicine that is fueled by the pervasive threat of frivolous lawsuits. This plan does nothing to address these needless costs. This is why a real bipartisan approach to this issue would have been nice.

So the debate continues as we enter this new era of providing healthcare. Certainly change from the previous course was needed. Are we heading back in the right direction or further off course? It all depends on who you ask.

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

No comments:

Post a Comment

Real Time Web Analytics