Sunday, September 7, 2008

overview of health care

It's been awhile, but I've been trying to figure out how to leverage the delicious tagged articles and reduce redundant writing (and reading). So below is a summary I've written up on the health care perspective I've amassed, along with supporting articles and their summaries below.

US health care is bad, but less so in providing access to expensive treatments (we do have the best cancer survival rates) than in paying for everything under the sun. Universal health care is not the primary health care issue facing the US; the primary problem is cost containment. If you want universal health care, you better first deal with that - Medicare spending is projected to some insane percentage of GDP (like 30-40%) of GDP, yes GDP, in not too long - as neither Medicare (nor private payers) have figured out how to deny coverage or payment to over-priced products or services. The reason Western Europe is more cost-effective than the US is that they DON'T COVER a lot of expensive drugs and therapies (explaining why our cancer survival rates are better). They let the government apply a cost-benefit analysis to every product/service -- if a private payer or Medicare does that, they end up in SiCKO.

We shouldn't try to emulate Western Europe, but take lessons from less-visible systems like Singapore. We need to separate redistribution for care for the sick from actual health insurance. We also need to change the way we think about care and coordination, which means changing Medicare's payment systems for physician services and health care products. The emphasis should not be on reducing profits, but ensuring payment is linked to value-added, not service provided.

Below the fold is more information.

Scroll over the link titles to read the summary.

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