The Obama health care summit, and did the President offer any clues to the upcoming health reform effort?

People have asked for my take on the President’s “health care summit” last week.

Cautious optimism, for now.

Having all the stakeholders in one room, and apparently, agreeing that something needs to be done, is encouraging.

But, compromises will have to be made, whether it will be the insurance companies, doctors, drug companies, or patients, who will bear the brunt of the sacrifices remains to be seen.

The ACP was there, and Bob Doherty comments on the summit through their lens. I found two of his observations encouraging. The first, is that President Obama “is willing to take on liberal activists, pointedly telling them that they are not going to be able to achieve universal coverage without controlling costs.”

That’s important, because as I have written before, it will be the single-payer groups, such as Physicians for a National Health Program, who will be one of the biggest impediments obstructing any reform effort.

Next, the President made it a point to say, “We have to produce more primary care physicians.”

That is good to hear. Although I certainly believe that mid-level providers will play a critical role in shoring up the primary care ranks, the fact remains, we need more physicians in charge of the medical teams entrusted to care for the millions of patients that will seek health care once they are newly insured. Without access to care, having health insurance is meaningless.

So, in the end, I think the President did and said all the right things. Everyone left the summit smiling and holding hands.

Now, the real work begins, and we’ll see who’s left smiling at the end.

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