in search of sustainable and effective health care coverage reform

To this point, most of the discussion on health care coverage reform has been vastly disappointing.  The sides are so polarized that it’s degenerated into an unproductive shouting match.  The uninsured are the ones who will pay the price for this irresponsibility.

When I first heard the term “Death Panel”, I was convinced that former Governor Palin was referring to bad science fiction.  It is not surprising to hear reactionary populist tripe coming from a person whose primary focus appears to be self-promotion, not responsible leadership.  The short attention span mobs have seized control of the public dialog, while tangible progress in Congress has stalled.  The president has not shown the necessary visible leadership that would refocus the debate on what the goals are.  Charles Blow captures the mood well in this op-ed piece.

Complex problem.  No easy solutions.  No clear consensus.  I’ve had a number of conversations with people I disagree with politically.  It’s amazing what happens when two adults who disagree but want a positive solution work at it a bit.  In a number of cases, we seemed to arrive at some very common conclusions.  Each of us is experiencing conflicted thinking between healthy suspicion of large government-run efforts, and a common goal of social justice.

In yesterday’s New York Times, David Brooks wrote a very  interesting op-ed column on health care reform.  He cites an interesting article on health care reform, written by David Goldhill in this month’s issue of The Atlantic .  His gist is that we need to change the system at its core.  Reduce, rather than expand the role of insurance.  Focus the role of government on what it can do most effectively (protect the poor, cover us against true catastrophe, enforce safety standards, and ensure provider competition).  And preserve or establish incentives for people to "do the right thing" – both from the health and financial standpoint.  It jibes with my belief that we need to change the basic business model of the health care industry in order to get the desired result.

Brooks also cites what looks like an interesting report from the Brookings Institute on ways to reducing health care spending, while improving quality. 

Also worth pointing out is an interesting clip of Senator Al Franken speaking to some concerned citizens (including some tea party folks) at the MN state fair about health care reform :

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/09/03/al-franken-talks-an.html

There are some interesting contrasts drawn in these examples with the hardline liberal stance on reform.  For example, Franken cites Swiss universal health care coverage as an example of a highly regulated but privately owned option that appears to work pretty well, and is more financially sustainable than a public option layered on top of the current health care model is.

I’m no subject matter expert, but recognize that the system as is needs some kind of disruptive change in order to reach even the simplest of goals. 

These articles are definitely food for thought.

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