Saturday, May 16, 2009

How not to do health care reform

It started with calls for universal health care. Health care as a right. Insuring the uninsured.

Gradually, culminating in last week's summit with health insurance industry executives, it's become less about extending coverage and more about "containing costs".

Ask yourself this - - will health industry executives "contain costs" by cutting profits, or by cutting quality?

We have an answer (on the front pages of McClatchy newspapers):

Headline: "Ways to cut S. Fla. healthcare costs: reduce tests, let terminally ill die at home"

From story: "South Florida healthcare leaders say they know plenty of ways to slash costs - - from cutting down on needless hospital readmissions to not wasting dollars on useless care when patients are dying. . . . If the ideas were accepted, gravely ill patients would be more likely to die at home rather than in intensive care . . . another key is eliminating "futile care" - - treatment given after it is clear that a patient is on an irreversible path to imminent death."

If this is the road we're going down, and if this is the publicity that's going to surround "reform" efforts, don't be surprised if "reform" loses again.

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