Expanding health care options

Easier said than done, as Illinois is finding out. If states can't get it done, the chances for any federal reform are grim.

Canada is bracing for universal healthcare Stateside:

With all the presidential candidates vowing to extend health insurance coverage to the about 47 million Americans without it, Canada's doctor supply will be raided, said Brian Day of the Canadian Medical Association.

There's no doubt the promise will be kept and have a dramatic effect on Canada's supply of doctors, Vancouver-based Day said in London.

How more competition is needed in health care today. The Happy Hospitalist with two takes:

Price controls create artificial limits to productivity. Success is determined by somebody else, not yourself. You are the slave of someone else. There is no sky is the limit.

Competition forces innovation on the top line and bottom line. To survive, change must occur, and quickly, or you go bankrupt. That ...


The long road to health reform

Outlining the significant challenges to any form of major reform. In other words, despite the rhetoric, don't expect much to change.

Uninsured vets

So much for the pseudo-single payer VA providing universal coverage:

About one of every eight veterans under the age of 65 is uninsured, a finding that contradicts the assumption many have that all vets qualify for free health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, says a new study.
(via The Medical Quack)

Fleeing the NHS

So, is this what universal coverage buys you?

More than 70,000 Britons will have treatment abroad this year "“ a figure that is forecast to rise to almost 200,000 by the end of the decade. Patients needing major heart surgery, hip operations and cataracts are using the internet to book operations to be carried out thousands of miles away.
(via Andrew Sullivan)

One reason is the attitude of the American consumer. Maggie Mahar is right on the money:

Part of the problem may be that American consumers want and expect more health care. We just won't accept our own mortality: we expect medicine to save us. Indeed some, like medical ethicist Daniel Callahan, have suggested that our high-tech, high-profit health care industry is "in the business of selling dreams."
I like ...



Like oil and water:

In the US, we have a consumerist society where the patient, now a client, makes the decision themselves. It's a little like picking out a purse at Coach, "I want two preventions and a diagnostic."
In a society where "more testing = better medicine", saying no to patients will be the death of any cost-containment/single-payer reform.

Ezra Klein in an LA Times' op-ed, outlining the Republican and Democrat approaches to the health care. Here is the Republican's take on the situation, which makes more sense to me:

The Republicans are taking a very different approach. Their plans all proceed from the assumption that the problem in healthcare is that costs are skyrocketing because Americans overuse their doctors. This theory postulates that because Americans don't feel the ...


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