I’ve been a subscriber and avid reader of Money magazine since I graduated from college back in the late 70’s. I have continued to renew my subscription because I feel that Money has always tried to give a fair and balanced point of view to the major issues facing our country over the past thirty years.
The August edition of Money had a very interesting article on health-care costs based on a report done by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. The article pointed out the the findings in this report have gotten alot of attention within the Obama administration because the report suggests that America could spend less on medicine and end up just as healthy. That spending for Medicare would fall about 20% if everybody practiced medicine the way the lowest-spending fifth of the nation does !
The article/report mentions that higher volumes of care do not produce better outcomes for patients and that patient outcomes can suffer because having more doctors involved increases the likelihood of mistakes. The article also mentions that regions with more hospital beds show that patients are more likely to be admitted to the hospital.
The article also says that we need more accountability so that doctors and hospitals work together to provide better care at lower costs and we need to reform how providers are paid because under the current system providers are rewarded only for doing more stuff, not providing better outcomes.
I think that this is what President Obama is saying when he talks about waste and abuse and the need to reform. I always believe in looking at the glass half full as the article says, we have an incredible opportunity to make american medicine the envy of the world and cover everybody. I know that we can do much better !
So the question then becomes who is going to be responsible for handling such a task ? We have seen that since Hillary Clinton tried to reform the health care system nothing has changed and deductibles, co-pays and premiums all continue to go up. Health insurers are not going to do it, drug companies are not going to do it, hopsitals are not going to do it ! Someone needs to take the lead and the government is the only entity that can take on such a task !