Mighty Barack has struck out.
Those of us who found little value and a lot of trouble in the Obamacare proposals should find no joy in health care reform going to the back burner as they say in corporate speak, or is it being placed in the parking lot? No matter, we are still facing increasing health care costs, convoluted incentives to spend money and not to care about the cost and oh yes, people without coverage. Nobody is winning.
Doing nothing is almost (but not quite) worse than doing something akin to current proposals and doing only part of what is now on the table could be worst of all.
What we need is to get 20 smart knowledgeable people in a room and say, forget the politics, forget the oxen, and forget the special interests, what is the right thing to do that will:
Make the delivery of health care more efficient and assure consistent high quality no matter where the care is delivered, and
Assure that the growth in the cost of health care remains at a reasonable pace in the future (reasonable meaning something akin to general inflation)
That is not asking too much is it. I doubt I will be asked to be one of the twenty in this room, but I do know that what comes out of the discussions will mean:
- Tax laws will change
- Individual responsibility (for health and costs) will increase
- No health care services will be totally free
- Reimbursement methodologies will change
- Treatment protocols will be applied uniformly
- The concept of health insurance will be reinstated
- Drug companies, insurers, device makers and some providers will make less money (unless they become highly efficient and innovative).
- There will be a long transition period
- Nobody will be truly happy
- In ten years, no one will remember how the system used to work.
Those who think victory is found in the defeat of health care reform are fools; the need for reform was never in question.