Friday, July 10, 2009

Time for clear talk on reform

When Obama visited the Middle East, pundits marveled at how he swept aside political platitudes for straight talk. For example, he called for an end to Israeli settlements while still insisting that Israel has a right to exist.
No duh.

That has long been the assumed basis of policy change in the Middle East, it's just that no one has wanted to say so out loud.
However, similar clarity seems to be lacking in debates around healthcare reform.

To wit, the "hospital industry" agreed this week to $155 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts over the next decade to pay for health reform.
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CMS can cut payments if it wants without the hospital industry's agreement. They've been doing it for years.

And it's not true that the hospital industry is accepting cuts. That makes them sound very nice and all that, but they expect to make the losses up as more uninsured patients get coverage under a government-supported health insurance plan.

For physicians to really buy in to health reform, I think they need to see that it will really mean better health for their patients. Not just a shift in how hospitals get paid and some sort of "kumbaya" posturing.

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