Are Liberal or Conservative ideas right for health care?

How about a little of both?

I don’t see, for instance, why we can’t have universal coverage and malpractice reform. In a similar vein, MIT’s Jonathan Gruber writes a great op-ed in the Boston Globe recently, about controlling health spending.

One one side, progressives generally want to reform the supply side spending of medical care, which means pressuring the payments made to doctors and hospitals. On the other, conservatives want patients, or health care consumers as they call them, to have more of a financial stake in their health care use.

As Mr. Gruber notes, “both sides in this debate need each other. Liberals are right that fundamental cost control can only come from the supply side . . . But here is where conservatives are right: Consumers will reject such cost controls unless they have some skin in the game.”

He goes on to cite the failure of HMOs and managed care in the early 1990s, not because they didn’t work, but because patients rebelled against being restricted on which doctor they were allowed to see. He argues that, as long as patients continued to be insulated from the true costs of health care, it’s unlikely that any supply-side cost control measure will be accepted by the public.

I wholeheartedly agree, and suggest you read the entire op-ed.

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